Onward we go with our player by player look at the Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Free Agents. we are breaking them down one by one and look ahead to their pending 2012 free agency situation. The first part of this series I am focusing on the restricted free agents and this is the fourth player in that series. In this free agent analysis we will have a look at guard Ramon Foster.
Player: Ramon Foster
Experience: 3 Years
Free Agent Status: Restricted
2011 Salary Cap Hit: $527,668.00
2011 Season Breakdown: Foster did not own a starting spot on the offensive line out of training camp and was barely given any type of a shot to win one as Chris Scott, Tony Hills and Doug Legursky were all given the nod ahead of him. When starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu missed the week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks with his balky knee, Foster found himself starting at left guard. He played well in that game and came off the bench the following week against the Indianapolis Colts when Legursky, the starting right guard at the time, got banged up late in the game and Foster started at that spot the rest of the season. From week 4 on Foster only missed 37 offensive snaps and logged the most plays on the Steelers offensive line. He was not terrible either.
After a rocky game against the Houston Texans in week 4, where he allowed 4 quarterback pressures, Foster really got in a groove. He unofficially gave up 3 sacks on the season to go along with 16 total pressures. He occasionally would get beat inside on a stunt or failed block, but his pass protection has a whole was pretty reliable. The run blocking of Foster was the weakest part of his game, but I must say that once again it was not bad. He also showed later on in the year that he could trap to the left side and usually hit his mark with nice pad level and accuracy. We also saw him show his mobility a several times at the second level and he didn\'t take many plays off. The Steelers running game was extremely right handed again in 2011 and he and rookie Marcus Gilbert really worked double-teams well at times, especially blocking down to the inside.
Foster had his share of run block fails along the way and will never be accused of being an overly dominant guard, but he was very consistent and very durable. He was flagged just 3 times the whole season as well, twice for holding and once for a false start. Not bad considering the amount of snaps he played. Foster uses his legs and hands well, but there is room for improvement. He could stand to work on his agility a bit in the offseason to make him a little more nimble on the move, but you have to be impressed with his total body of work in 2011. Not bad at all for a guy that was on the bench to start the season.
Free Agency Outlook: Foster is a restricted free agent and I expect the Steelers will tender him at the lowest level and he will be retained for the 2012 season. I would say there is a very slight chance he could get an offer sheet from another team, but the Steelers would have the right to match it should that indeed happen. While he is better on the right side than he is on the left, he can flip over if the need ever arises. The Steelers will address the guard position during the early rounds of the draft and it will likely be of the left guard variety. They will also add several after the draft in addition to see if they can find another undrafted contributor just as they did with Foster. By the looks of things right now, I say Foster has a real strong shot at being the week 1 starter at right guard as he has earned that honor in my opinion. At the very worst he should make the 53 man roster as a swing guard.
Other 2012 Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Mike Wallace - Restricted Free Agent
Keenan Lewis - Restricted Free Agent
Doug Legursky - Restricted Free Agent
David Johnson - Restricted Free Agent
Ryan Mundy - Restricted Free Agent
Jamon Meredith - Restricted Free Agent
Jerricho Cotchery - Unestricted Free Agent
Max Starks - Unestricted Free Agent
Mewelde Moore - Unestricted Free Agent
Byron Leftwich - Unestricted Free Agent
Charlie Batch - Unestricted Free Agent
Dennis Dixon - Unestricted Free Agent
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