The Pitsburgh Steelers offense is their bread and butter. Whether you are talking about Le'Veon Bell, Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant, they have weapons at every position. Howver, the one position which helps keep the Steelers black and gold engine moving forward is the offensive line. To be hoest, there are a number of free agents on the team's current offensive line who may or may not be brought back in 2016.
There are many factors which impact potential free agents and their future with the team. Their current contract, depth at the position along with expectations for the future within the organization. For the offensive line, there aren't as many big name players who could potentially leave the organization, but there are some names worth discussing.
Steelers Offensive Line Free Agents:
Ramon Foster - LG - $1,833,333 (Current Salary)
Mike Adams - OT - $885,913
Doug Legursky - G/C - $745,000
Byron Stingily - OT - $745,000
Kelvin Beachum - OT - $536,474
Mitchell Van Dyk - OT - $435,000 (ERFA)
Kevin Palmer - OT - $435,000 (ERFA)
When analyzing this list, there are several names who could pass by the wayside and not much of a splash would be made other than a small byline in a crowded article. However, there are some significant names on the list which could impact the team's draft strategy, as well as their free agency outlook.
The name atop the list would be Ramon Foster. The guard who played every snap in 2015 was one of the main pieces along the Pittsburgh offensive line who dealt with several key injuries throughout the season. Foster was an undrafted free agent and has played his way into a starting role in one of the best offensive units in the league.
Foster will garner some interest from other NFL franchises, so the Steelers might want to move sooner than later if they plan on bringing him back with a new contract. If they allow him to test the free agent waters, and lose him, it will leave a gaping hole at left guard heading into 2016. You could ask Cody Wallace or Doug Legursky to try and fill the void, but those players aren't natural guards who have played the position as long as Foster.
Other than Foster, the other name of note is Kelvin Beachum. The Steelers and Beachum were rumored to have had contract negotiations prior to the 2015 regular season, but couldn't come together on a new deal. Midway through the season, Beachum tears his ACL putting his financial future in jeopardy.
Some have suggested Beachum moving to guard with the emergence of Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle, but even a player like Beachum who was drafted in the 6th round, has seen the kind of success at tackle that should spark some interest on the open market.
Lastly, Mike Adams is a very intriguing character. The Steelers spent a second round pick on the former Ohio State product, and in 2014 he spelled Marcus Gilbert at right tackle and played well. In 2015 he didn't see the field after having back surgery before the year began. The team could re-sign him for cheap, but the question is do they want to continue to deal with the baggage Adams brings to the table?
Prediction: Palmer and Van Dyk are both Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFA), and I feel they will be re-signed prior to 2016, like Chris Hubbard was a week ago. Other than that, I see the Steelers making a serious play to have Foster return to help keep the interior of the line solidified. If Foster returns, it will allow Cody Wallace to the versatile interior lineman to spell Maurkice Pouncey, Foster or David DeCastro if any of them got hurt. This would also mean the end of the road for Doug Legursky's second stint with the team.
I believe the Steelers will try to re-sign Beachum cheap, but if he wants to test free agent waters they will let him. These negotiations could impact Adams' status with the team as a potential backup at the tackle position.