While the Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly showing interest in free agent cornerback Bradley Roby, they have yet to make any type of move during the tampering window that would generate any kind of news. They took care of all of the buzz in the days leading up to it.
We know the four moves that they made. Arguably the least ‘buzzworthy’ was the only move that actually dealt with a player scheduled to be a free agent, that being left guard Ramon Foster. Though he talked in November about wanting to really test free agency in 2019 at the age of 33 for the first time, he ended up re-signing days ahead of the tampering window.
He was on Sirius XM Radio recently, and that’s the first question he asked about his decision to re-sign. “Honestly, the Steelers came with a proper deal”, he said. “I think most folks wanted to do like a one-year; the Steelers were into a two-year. You know, of course when you do a two-year, they’re able to spread the cash out a little bit better too, so that’s always a plus”.
Pittsburgh offered him a two-year contract worth $8.25 million, which represents the highest level of cashflow in his career to date based on yearly averages. His last deal, a three-year contract in 2016, was worth a total of $9.6 million, though adjusted for salary cap inflation since then, his new deal actually works out to a lower percentage of the total amount.
Despite the fact that he has now signed three contracts after his rookie deal, Foster has never been an unrestricted free agent. His prior two contracts were signed during the three-day tampering window leading into the start of the new league year. As mentioned, this latest deal was signed even before that.
It’s unclear to whom Foster was referring to when he said that “most folks wanted to do like a one-year” deal. Is he suggesting that he already received prior indications of interest from teams before the tampering window? Or is he simply referring to fans?
It’s probably relatively rare for a non-Pro Bowl starting offensive lineman to receive more than a one-year contract as he approaches his mid-30s, as that is generally when players that the position begin to fall off after their bodies break down from years of smashing into equally large men 16 times a year, and a number of more times in practice.
Foster, however, hasn’t shown signs of slowing down and is in fact coming off one of the best and most consistent seasons of his career. I don’t believe he missed a snap due to injury in 2018 even though he was out for the majority of training camp and all of the preseason with a high ankle sprain.