The Pittsburgh Steelers have their share of free agents about to test the open market in a few short days when free agency officially begins. When NFL.com recently released their Top 99 Free Agents, only two members of the black and gold were placed on the list -- offensive linemen Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster.
The article broke down the free agents into several categories: "Difference Makers", "Impact Starters", "Starters with Questions" and "Needs the Right Role".
As for the pair of Pittsburgh offensive linemen, they fell into the "Starters with Questions" category. See what NFL.com added to each player and their reasoning behind being placed in this category.
36. Kelvin Beachum, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle: He would be ranked in the top 20 if he wasn't coming off a torn ACL.
56. Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers guard: A solid starter, Foster was a big part of Pittsburgh's excellent offensive line.
The question surrounding Beachum is no surprise. Primed to make big-time money as a legitimate starting left tackle in the NFL, Beachum's plans were derailed by a torn ACL in Week 7 of the 2015 season. Going from "Difference Maker" to a "Starter with Questions" is certainly a drop off for a potential free agent, especially financially. Left tackles are tough to find, but one coming off a major knee injury would be tough to pay big money not knowing what his knee, or performance, will resemble the next time he steps on the field.
As for Foster, his questions aren't nearly as serious as those surrounding his linemate. Foster has been extremely durable since being an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, but his athleticism and mobility certainly hinder what offenses can do with him at the left guard position. Foster is more than capable to be a plug-and-play type player, but he is far from a difference maker at the guard position due to his physical limitations.
The Steelers certainly will look into bringing both players back in 2016, but are prepared to let them test their market value first. This is a smart decision for the organization as they will see what other teams are throwing at Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster before making any potential counter offers to retain their former players.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for the current crop of Steelers free agents.