The Pittsburgh Steelers signed offensive lineman B.J. Finney to a one-year contract on Friday and I was not too surprised once that news broke. After all, I predicted back in November that Finney would be cut by the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason and then likely return to the Steelers on the cheap.
There is probably no way the Bengals will pay B.J. Finney $3.1M in 2021 so sets up a chance for the #Steelers to maybe get him back as a minimum salary backup player in the offseason. Especially if Matt Feiler bolts via free agency.
— Steelers Depot 🧐 (@Steelersdepot) November 14, 2020
With Finney now back in the fold, several are likely to question if this signing was a good one for the Steelers and I will tell you that without a doubt that it is. In fact, it might just wind up being one of their better free agent signings this offseason.
For starters, the fact that Finney received a one-year deal from the Steelers more than likely means it was a qualifying contract that included a minimum base salary and a reduced cap charge. The minimum base salary on Finney for 2021 would be $990,000 and that would make his cap charge just $850,000 pending a tiny signing bonus the Steelers could have decided to give him. That’s super easy for the Steelers to afford.
The fact that Finney can play all three interior positions on the offensive line is also a plus. The Steelers really don’t have that kind of player on their roster right now as behind starting guards David DeCastro and Kevin Dotson only sits J.C. Hassenauer, who like Finney, was primarily a center in college. The Steelers need that kind of player and Finney has been good at left guard so far during his career in the games that he’s started.
Finney also has experience as a starting center and with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to boot so that also makes him an attractive get for the minimum. Right now, he’s the top center on the depth chart. With his salary being so cheap, the Steelers could still quite possibly go out and get another center with experience on the cheap ahead of the draft.
Finney’s addition also has zero impact on the 2021 NFL Draft as well. In short, the Steelers can still choose to draft a center in any round without feeling a ton of pressure to reach for one. I fully expect them to draft a center this year and so should you and that still should be the case even if Finney and Hassenauer get some competition in the next few weeks from another veteran center.
In closing, there’s nothing not to like about the re-addition of Finney on Friday. He’s a good kid, knows the culture and at worst, is an adequate enough backup interior lineman type that can compete for his roster spot later in the offseason. This was a very solid signing by the Steelers for all of the reasons listed above.