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: Now that we know the CBA has passed, the Steelers will safely retain B.J. Finney.
Explanation: Even though the salary cap ended up coming on lower than expected, the Steelers now have a number of additional tools available to them to create additional cap space that they otherwise would not have had in the event that the CBA did not pass. This opens the door to them being able to retain some select players, such as B.J. Finney, a pending unrestricted free agent.
Just a very brief housekeeping note, I’m bumping this article up to the 7AM timeslot for today just in case the news of the day renders the topic moot before it publishes, as happens several times a year.
Now that we know the salary cap number and the reality of the CBA, we know that it’s entirely possible that the Steelers could create enough salary cap space to make B.J. Finney a salary offer that should be quite competitive with anything he is likely to field on the open market, as a 28-year-old lineman who has never started more than four games in a season before.
The front office knows that the offensive line is already in a backslide and drawing toward the end of a very high period, with its Pro Bowl players on the wrong side of the 30-years-old line. They lost some pipeline depth last year already, and are expected to release Ramon Foster. They can’t afford to lose more.
Then again, they could actually retain Foster. Many would likely argue against this, since Finney is six years younger and there is belief that he is at least as good an option to start right now or better. But if Finney isn’t going to be handed a starting job, then he may not be offered a starting salary either.
And the Steelers may not want to push more cap money back than they have to. They may, more importantly, have decided that Matt Feiler is the future at guard instead, and will focus on retaining him and Zach Banner, while targeting a center-capable player in the draft.