March 09, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers took a flier on Ramon Foster in 2009, signing him as an undrafted free agent. Over the next seven seasons, Foster worked his way from prospect to dependable starter.

Hours before hitting the open market as a free agent, Foster decided to stick with the only NFL team he's ever known.

The Steelers and Foster agreed to a three-year deal that will run through the 2018 season on Wednesday, the only significant move by Pittsburgh on the opening day of free agency.

The 30-year-old Foster has made 87 starts at various positions and has been Pittsburgh's starting left guard each of the last four seasons.

''Not a bad career so far for an undrafted kid out of Tennessee,'' Foster posted on his Instagram account.

Foster is the fourth player to re-sign with the Steelers rather than test free agency. Safety Robert Golden and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey signed on Monday and cornerback William Gay inked a three-year deal on Tuesday.

The Steelers did not come to terms with left tackle Kelvin Beachum, nose tackle Steve McLendon or cornerback Antwon Blake by the 4 p.m. deadline. Pittsburgh did not make a qualifying offer to linebacker Terence Garvin, allowing Garvin to become a free agent.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said in the run-up to free agency the team would take its usual pragmatic approach, focusing more on re-signing the players the Steelers have developed rather than making a big splash.

Colbert characterized Pittsburgh's salary cap position as manageable. The Steelers entered free agency about $3 million under the cap but saw that number jump to $11 million on Wednesday night, according to the NFL Players Association.

Pittsburgh has significant needs in the secondary and along the defensive and offensive lines and is also looking for tight end help after Heath Miller's abrupt retirement last month.

The Steelers have Matt Spaeth and Jesse James under contract and are closing in on a deal with former Chargers tight end Ladarius Green. The 25-year-old Green caught a career-best 37 passes for 429 yards and four touchdowns in 2015 while serving as the primary backup behind Antonio Gates.


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