Cap Class: Did Ramon Foster’s Injury Hurt His Chances at Another Contract?

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette


Cap Class is a series where I break down the cap to find the amounts associated with the roster, dead money, or future cost of players. Dollar amounts and cap cost may not be exciting, but they can be interesting when you look inside the numbers.

Ramon Foster is the longest tenured player on the offensive line. Entering his 11th season he is also in the final year of his contract. Usually the Steelers sign the players they want to retain, with one year left on their contract, but this year the contract talks have been quiet. On July 28th, Foster had quite a scare when he was carted off the field with what many believed to be a season ending injury. Fortunes smiled upon him, and it was a hyperextension that requires rest, and not surgery. Even though his injury is not as serious as initially feared, it still is going to cause him to miss all of training camp. As a result, the Steelers are getting a long look at younger players. BJ Finney is working hard and doing well. Since he is still on his rookie contract, BJ could be a cheaper option to retain.

Another factor working against Foster is, the other 4 starters on the offensive line have received contracts over the past few years and a lot of money is tied up in the offensive line:

Maurkice Pouncey signed a 5 year extension in 2014 for $44M
Marcus Gilbert signed a 5 year extension in 2014 for $30M
David Decastro signed a 5 year extension in 2016 for $50M
Last year Alejandro Villanueva signed a 4 year $24M contract

This is 4 of the starting linemen represented in the top 12 highest salary cap numbers on the Steelers. Interestingly enough, Ramon Foster has the 14th highest cap number on the team. I see this as a numbers game. You simply can not pay everyone on the offensive line, and unless Foster wants to sign a very home team friendly deal to finish his career in Pittsburgh, I don’t see the Steelers opening up the pocketbook very wide to retain him. With BJ Finney getting all of the snaps in training camp, the Steelers will know exactly what they have in terms of a long term left guard. If he continues to succeed, Foster just may become a free agent at the end of the season.

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