The Steelers' Ramon Foster during workouts at Saint Vincent College last summer.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers cannot possibly provide any more talent at receiver and running back for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so they’re doing the next best thing – keeping his offensive line intact.
This morning, guard Ramon Foster and the Steelers announced that he had come to terms on a new three-year contract, confirming a Post-Gazette report Tuesday night that the sides were finalizing a new deal, the third with the Steelers for the onetime undrafted rookie tackle from Tennessee.
“Well let’s make more memories,’’ Foster wrote on Instagram this morning. “Not a bad career so far for an undrafted kid out of Tennessee.”
Foster, 30, started every game at left guard last season, his sixth as a starter in their offensive line. It may have been his best performance because he had two new starters on either side of him. Cody Wallace took over for Maurkice Pouncey after the All-Pro center was lost in preseason with an ankle injury. Then, six games into the season, veteran left tackle Kelvin Beachum’s year ended with a torn ACL and he was replaced by inexperienced Alejandro Villanueva.
Beachum remains the last significant player on offense unsigned as free agency hurtles toward a 4 p.m. start today. With Foster, the team now is paying top dollar to four of their five starting linemen. Guard David DeCastro had his $8 million option year picked up for 2016 and should sign a long-term deal before the season begins, while Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert are on multiple-year deals.
If the Steelers do not re-sign Beachum before or after free agency starts, Villanueva will remain their starting left tackle.
The team now has signed four players over the past two days before they could become free agents: starters Foster and cornerback William Gay, and backups Robert Golden at safety and Darrius Heyward-Bey at wide receiver.
Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.
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