Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: OL B.J. Finney
Stock Value: Up
One man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, of course, and B.J. Finney has a nice one in front of him. Two games in the division, one on the road and one at home, to showcase his talents at center as a starter. Three starts in a contract year as he prepares to hit the open market, likely with 12 starts under his belt at that point.
Finney, originally signed by the Steelers as a college free agent in 2015, has been on the 53-man roster for the past four years, and has (or will have) started at least two games in each of those year, either at left or right guard or at center. The offense has put up some impressive numbers in some of the game in which he started.
While he does already have one start at left guard under his hat for this season, a two-game stint at center will be more valuable for him in terms of boosting his desirability on the open market. While he has taken some in-game snaps here and there since then, he hasn’t played at center prominently since the 2017 season finale, during which he was injured.
If he can put together a couple of quality starts here at center, then he will have teams looking at him knowing that he can be a starter anywhere along the interior. And they will be willing to pay more for that.
Meanwhile, the Steelers can offer him no guarantees of a starting job in 2020, with Ramon Foster still under contract one more year, and still playing to his usual standards. As of right now, it would seem unlikely that the front office would cut him in order to re-sign Finney if it were to come to that.
Foster has a $4 million base salary, so that’s not exactly a crazy figure they have to manage, either. I don’t know that he could be a cap casualty. What will Finney ultimately fetch? Well, the next two weeks will help decide that.