Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: G Ramon Foster
Stock Value: Down
If you believe Pro Football Focus, then Ramon Foster is coming off the worst season of his career as a starter. I don’t put a lot of stock in the site’s number grades, especially for something like offensive linemen, but they may not be wrong. While he wasn’t bad, by any means, it would be fair to say that it was a step down for him.
Entering the final year of his most recent contract, and at the age of 34, with the addition of B.J. Finney also hitting unrestricted free agency, that could provide the impetus for the team to release him and save a few million dollars off of the salary cap in the process, which they could use to re-sign the younger lineman they have viewed as starter-capable for years.
A college free agent out of Tennessee all the way back in 2009, Foster has stuck around now for 11 years, a very admirable career by any measure, and spending the majority of that time (from 2013 onward) as an unchallenged starter, in addition to having plenty of starts under his belt before that as well.
He has, in fact, at this point played in 160 games over the course of his career and recorded 145 starts in the process. There is not a game in which he played that he did not start since 2011, in which year he started 14 of 15 games.
He started all 16 games in 2012, but that was due to a preseason injury by then-rookie David DeCastro. Foster was primarily a right guard at that time and was moved over to left guard after DeCastro entered the lineup for the final three games of that season. Willie Colon, who was moved to guard that year, ended up on injured reserve, opening up the left side for Foster, where he has been a fixture since.
Will this be the year that that changes? Should the Steelers choose to release him, will he hook up with another team for a starting job? Despite being in the league for a long time, he has never made a fortune in comparison to his teammates along the line.