Since originally being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015—and being on the 53-man roster since 2016—Pittsburgh Steelers interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney has acquitted himself well in the starting lineup on several occasions, making starts at left and right guard as well as at center. He even played some tackle-eligible in 2017.
Entering this season as a restricted free agent, the team valued him enough to place a second-round tender on him, which will pay him roughly $3 million this year provided that he makes the roster—which is pretty much a guarantee as long as he is healthy.
There was real talk that he could even enter the starting lineup in 2019, but that conversation quickly closed when the front office agreed to a new two-year contract with veteran Ramon Foster, who has been the full-time starter at left guard since 2013 (131 starts in his career) and played every snap in 2018 despite missing the preseason due to injury.
“It is what it is”, Finney told Ray Fittipaldo about both himself and Foster being brought back together. We knew we wanted to keep the room the same. We wanted to keep that continuity, that ‘it’ factor within the room”.
He added that he feels “extremely blessed to have that second-round tender put on me. That’s a huge for me, especially being undrafted. I’m happy. But I’m also happy for Ramon to get extended and getting the pay day he got”.
Though it is still a bargain in comparison to many other guards around the league, Foster is earning the most he has ever made in his career under this new contract, which pays him over $8 million over the next two seasons. He is making $4.25 million this year (with a cap hit around $2.5 million) and will have a $4 million base salary in 2020.
Provided that he remains on the roster.
As for Finney, he is appreciative of the bump in pay, calling it “a little bit of a reward and a taste of what can be”. He said that it serves as motivation to push himself even more “I’m going to keep improving my game and what is going to be is going to be”, he said of the future.
The only thing that he can control is his own play and the way that he carries himself. So far, he has done all the right things in his career, and has shown the flexibility to play and play well in a number of different roles.
If he ever gets the chance to settle into one role, as Foster did five years into his career, there’s no reason to believe he can’t find a similar amount of success. Right now, the only thing holding him back is a guy who was in his shoes several years ago.