Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
The Steelers had contract discussions with Ramon Foster’s agent, Joel Segal, on Thursday and will eventually make the unrestricted free agent offensive lineman an offer once the organization gets a better grasp on their current finances, said a source with knowledge of the meeting.
However, that offer may come too late and significantly under market value in order to retain Foster. Arizona, Chicago and Tennessee have shown interest in the 27-year-old guard. The N.Y. Giants could also be a potential suitor if they can’t re-sign Kevin Boothe.
Because of a new rule, agents are allowed to start formal talks with other teams starting three days before the start of the new NFL calendar year (12:01 a.m. Saturday) which is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday.
No signing can be announced until the opening of free agency if a deal is reached.
The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Foster has been a regular on the Steelers offensive line since being an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee in 2009.
Foster started 30 consecutive games at guard and 42 of 44 including Super Bowl XLV since being inserted into the lineup for a Week 10 game against the Patriots in 2010.
Foster has been extremely durable at a position that’s been injury prone for the Steelers in recent years. Foster missed only the second half of the season-opener against Denver with a severe headache before playing the final 966 snaps of the year at right guard.
According to ProFootballFocus, Foster allowed only two sacks the entire season – the least of all Steelers starters.
Foster signed a 1-year tender for $1.26 million last year as a restricted free agent after not getting much interest on the open market. He became expendable when the Steelers used a first round draft pick on right guard David DeCastro and decided to move Willie Colon and his recently signed 5-year, $29 million contract to left guard within a month of each other.
However, Foster started all 16 games last year when DeCastro was injured during the preseason.