Ramon Foster must really love playing in Pittsburgh with his fellow offensive line teammates intact, because, once again, he turned down the opportunity to hit the free agent market, even at the age of 33, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract to remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers worth $8.25 million in total, according to reports.
Now relatively speaking, that’s still good money for Foster, who earned only about $15.1 million through his first 10 years in the NFL. Throwing another $8 million-plus on top of that over two years is a nice way to end a career, should he retire at 34 at the end of the 2020 season.
But I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t elect to at least hit the tampering window this year, to see what kind of offers he might be able to get in free agency. During his first contract extension, he re-signed just before free agency officially began, which gave him time to hit that window. He hit the tampering window in 2016, too, when he signed a three-year, $9.6 million deal.
Back in November, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was looking to get his worth this offseason, knowing that it could be his last bite of the apple, so to speak. Is just a hair over $4 million per season the bite he was really looking for?
I can’t help but wonder if he could have gotten a better deal on the open market. He is pretty easily one of the top guards who were scheduled to hit the market next week, and many of the other names on that list are also over the age of 30 looking at their third or fourth contracts.
While he did make those remarks in November, he also said at the end of the season that it was still his ambition to get himself a Super Bowl ring, and that “the city deserves it. There’s too much talent, you have a Hall of Fame quarterback. Look at it. What kind of changes do you want?”.
Personally, I think he just had a change of heart. There are a lot of other factors aside from money when you’re talking about where you’re going to play in the NFL for the next couple of years, and that’s both about literally where you’re going to live and the environment in which you’re going to work, both professionally and socially.
Foster has been in Pittsburgh for a decade now and has forged strong bonds both in the locker room and in the coaching staff and front office. He’s beloved by many in the city, as he should be, and I think he genuinely loves being a Steeler, and it pains him that he hasn’t been able to help them win a championship.
Could he have earned more money on the open market? I definitely think so. But he didn’t even make it to the tampering window this time before re-signing, which I think is a big statement about where he’s at toward the end of his career.