Player: B.J. Finney
Free Agent Status: Restricted
2018 Salary Cap Hit: $630,000
2018 Season Breakdown:
The 2018 season was not as active as the previous two for three-year Pittsburgh Steelers veteran offensive lineman B.J. Finney; however, it did provide him with the opportunity to complete the offensive line interior hat trick. After having started games at both left guard and center during his first two seasons, Finney made two starts at right guard in 2018, showing his complete versatility as a backup interior lineman.
The Steelers won one game and lost another (the first of his starts that they have lost in fact, coming against his local team, the Kansas City Chiefs), but both of them were high-scoring affairs that were in no way hindered by his presence on the field.
While he may be no proper substitute for David DeCastro, who is typically an All-Pro but was somehow kept off the list this past year by Joel Bitonio, the Steelers have a very high opinion of Finney and his play and view him as a starter in waiting.
Free Agency Outlook:
The question is how much longer he will wait, because he could be pegged as the heir apparent to left guard Ramon Foster, who is 33 and is a pending free agent, but team president Art Rooney II said that the team was looking to re-sign him, and if they do that, one would figure that it’s with the intention to start.
It’s a somewhat critical question because it would shape how the Steelers approach Finney’s status this year. As a restricted free agent, who is also a former undrafted free agent, they might consider tagging him with an original-round tender as a backup. If he was going to start, they would use a second-round tender and then try to sign him to a long-term extension.
They could still approach him for an extension as a restricted free agent even if they re-sign Foster, with the idea in mind that Foster would only be around for another year or two. He is also a very valuable reserve, and they don’t have anybody else as backups that they trust at center.
There’s no question that he will be brought back, but there are some long-term questions that the team has to consider that could shape what they want to do with him contractually this offseason.