The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: B.J. Finney will end up being a full-time starter for another team in 2020.
Explanation: A starting spot was potentially open this year before the Steelers re-signed left guard Ramon Foster to a two-year contract. Finney, who is entering his fourth season, was signed to a second-round restricted free agent tender and will be an unrestricted free agent next year.
Every player wants to have a chance to start. The best the Steelers can offer is a chance to compete for a starting job by 2021, after Foster’s contract expires, at which point he will be 35. Meanwhile, Finney will be turning 28 in October, so he is not getting any younger.
In other words, the sooner he can get a starting job, the more likely he is to make money, and to have some sort of long-term security. His best chance to do that may well come with another organization.
Like, say, perhaps the Denver Broncos, who just so happen to have Mike Munchak as their offensive line coach. Munchak developed Finney himself. They just lost their best interior lineman in Matt Paradis this offseason and their other two starters are rather replaceable. The only lineman they brought in is a tackle. And the Broncos won’t be the only team interested in him.
Generally, if the Steelers see long-term potential in a player, whether he is a current starter or a player that they envision as a starter in the near future, they step up and keep him around. Of course this doesn’t happen in all cases, but it’s the most frequent outcome.
Especially given Foster’s affordable contracts over the years, and the fact that their right tackle will be on a low deal, they can afford to give Finney a bigger deal than a normal backup would receive. And he is usually good for a couple of starts per year anyway.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Steelers allowed him to compete with Foster at left guard as well in 2020. Perhaps even this summer. That would certainly be one way to make sure they can keep him around.