Whether this will be Ramon Foster’s final season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, or perhaps even in the NFL, it’s too early to say. The 11-year veteran is under contract through the 2020 season, but it’s unclear what the salary cap implications will dictate in terms of where cuts will need to be made.
Foster, originally an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, will be turning 34 in a little over a week (on the same day that I turn 33). He has carved out a great career for himself, even if he hasn’t yet gotten to the Super Bowl, and has made over $21 million along the way, so it’s not impossible he decides to call it a day in the event that the Steelers, the only team he’s played for in the NFL, makes the call to let him go.
This has surely been the most unusual season in his career, however, and he has been with the team longer than anybody else on the 53-man roster—everybody short of Ben Roethlisberger, whose injury and subsequent placement on the Reserve/Injured List was the primary cause of it being such a weird year.
Foster called it an “eye-opener, more than anything. Winning is super hard in this league. I think we’ve all been blessed this last decade in a sense of being able to win, knowing you had a great shot at winning”, he said from the locker room.
“This year, it’s a little bit different”, he added, perhaps with the implicit understanding that he refers largely to the fact that they had to rely on two novice quarterbacks, both of whom were benched at one point due to performance. “I’m sure there’ll be a whole lot of growth, there’ll be a whole lot of different situations that guys could be in next year, so we’ll just wait and see what happens this offseason”.
If the front office doesn’t see Foster as part of that growth in preparation for 2020, then he hopes simply that they make that known as soon as possible, and I’m sure that they will. Head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert, and company will shortly begin their round of exit meetings, and he’ll know by then what they’re thinking.
One of the reasons he said he returned to Pittsburgh this past offseason without even testing the open market is because they had unfinished business. The roster felt like it has the means to reach the Super Bowl. They still feel that now heading into 2020, if they’re healthy. He’ll want to be a part of that.
But if he’s not…will he want to start over somewhere else?