Choose your weapon: Colon or Foster

January 1st, 2013
Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review

Steelers guard Ramon Foster is an unrestricted free agent.

The Steelers will have to make a decision whether or not they plan to sign unrestricted free agent guard Ramon Foster during the offseason.

Make no mistake about it, if Foster returns next year, Willie Colon won’t.

The Steelers would have to pay Foster starter’s money and assure him a starting spot for him not to test the free agent market in March, and to do that, they would likely have to release Colon — who has three years left on his 5-year, $29 million deal that he signed before training camp in 2011.

The decision just may come down to dependability.

Foster has started 30 consecutive games and 42 of the Steelers past 44 games including Super Bowl XLV despite getting shoved to the bench in each of the past three years — first by Trai Essex then Doug Legursky and finally David DeCastro.

Meanwhile, Colon has landed on injured reserve in each of the past three seasons with three different injuries (Achilles, triceps, knee). Colon has played only 11 of the Steelers’ 52 games in three years. However, when Colon was healthy this year, he was dominant and the run game flourished.

A decision needs to be made.

“I hope I am (with the Steelers) but i guess if the opportunity arises …” Foster said. “I am definitely open to whatever.”

Bottom line is Foster wants to be a starter and he wants paid, and he’s shown that he is deserving of both. And if you watched the NFL this year, many of teams would love to have a guy like Foster on their offensive line and especially for an affordable price.

How much would it cost to get a deal done with Foster?

Well, Buffalo signed Kraig Urbik, a former Steelers’ draft pick who Foster beat out in training camp in 2010, a couple week ago to a 4-year, $13.3 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus. That would probably enough to lock up Foster.

But in the end, Foster’s versatility may end up hurting him more than it helps him.

He can play both guard spots and both tackle spots as well. He was forced to play right tackle in the season finale against Cleveland. How many starting offensive line in the league of any note do you see flopping from position to position?

Mike Tomlin always boasts “the more you can do.”

Yeah, the more you can do, the less you get paid.

Foster hopes that’s not the case.