The Steelers weren't expected to make a move this week in free agency, and they weren't expected to re-sign guard Ramon Foster. On Monday, a day before free agency begins, Pittsburgh surprised everyone.
Foster agreed to a three-year deal to remain with the Steelers, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Foster's role is unknown at this point, but at the very least, he is an experienced backup who can play guard or tackle.
There's a good shot that Foster will compete for the starting job at left guard. Foster, a former undrafted rookie in 2009, has been one of the more underappreciated linemen on the Steelers. He has been the team's most durable lineman, starting all 16 games last year (13 at right guard when David DeCastro was hurt and three at left guard when Willie Colon was injured). He only allowed two sacks last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Steelers have some decisions to make at left guard now. There's still a chance that Pittsburgh could release Colon, last year's starter at left guard. The move would save the Steelers $1.9 million off the cap. There's also the possibility of moving Kelvin Beachum, a seventh-round pick from a year ago, from tackle to guard.
This is a solid move but it's one that further depletes the Steelers' cap room. Before bringing back Foster, Pittsburgh was $3.4 million under the cap.
UPDATE: If the Steelers cut Colon, they will likely designate him as a June 1 cut. As Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, the Steelers would save $5.5 million if they cut Colon after June. Teams can designate two players up to two players as "June 1 cuts" even if they cut them before that date.