Steelers sign Foster to 3-year deal, leaving Colon's future unclear
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013, 3:42 p.m.
If the Steelers have any plans to release veteran offensive lineman Willie Colon after signing Ramon Foster to a three-year contract Monday, Colon's agent, Joe Linta, hasn't been informed.
“I've been told the opposite, to be honest,” Linta said. “Now they very well could cut him (Tuesday), but I haven't heard, and that's not what they told me. But who knows?”
Colon, who will turn 30 next month, suffered season-ending injuries (Achilles, triceps, knee) in each of his past three seasons, limiting him to only 12 games — 11 of which came last year.
Despite tearing his Achilles before the 2010 season, the Steelers signed Colon to a five-year, $29 million deal a year later. Colon turned down an offer from the Bears that would have paid him $3 million more over the life of the contract to stay with the Steelers.
“He has had a black cloud around him with injuries, and it is very sad for him because he is one of the best,” Linta said. “No guards were better than him when he was playing last year, that's for sure.”
Colon could be designated a June 1 cut, saving the Steelers $5.5 million of salary-cap space that wouldn't kick in until June 2. If they release Colon before June 1, it would save the Steelers $1.5 million immediately.
As for Foster, he has been a regular on the Steelers' offensive line since being an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee in 2009.
Foster's three-year contract calls for $6 million with a $900,000 signing bonus.
Foster started 30 consecutive games at guard and 42 of the team's past 44 (including Super Bowl XLV) since being inserted into the lineup for a Week 10 game against the Patriots in 2010.
Foster has been durable at a position that has been injury-prone for the Steelers in recent years. He missed only the second half of the season opener against Denver with a severe headache before playing the final 966 snaps of the year at right guard.
According to ProFootballFocus, Foster allowed only two sacks last season, the least of all Steelers starters.
Foster signed a one-year tender for $1.26 million last year as a restricted free agent after not getting much interest on the open market. He became expendable when the Steelers used a first-round draft pick on David DeCastro and decided to move Colon to left guard.
But Foster started all 16 games last year when DeCastro was injured during the preseason. Foster was getting interest from other teams before deciding to re-sign with the Steelers less than a day before free agency begins.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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