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 soon be wearing a Steelers jersey again.
Explanation: In case you missed the incredibly exciting news, the Cincinnati Bengals a few short days ago announced that they would be releasing former Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney rather than pay him a base salary of more than $3 million. Having seemingly been determined to have been overpaid on the open market last season by the Seattle Seahawks, he is back on the market again just at the time when he favorite team (literally) is in need of offensive line depth—particularly a veteran interior starter-capable reserve.
It just makes way too much sense for this not to happen, and it’s not as though the Steelers lack a pattern of returning to former players. Just last year, by week two, Joshua Dobbs, Jerald Hawkins, and Sean Davis were all back in the black and gold. Whodathunk? Anybody who pays close enough attention, frankly.
Finney was a good and serviceable spot-starter for the Steelers over the course of his four-year career, making starts at both guard spots and at center as well. But when the Seahawks offered him a two-year, $8 million deal, they turned to a cheaper option in Stefen Wisniewski.
Cap-crunched and in need of replenishing their depth, while possibly even needing a bridge starter at center, the Steelers need a player like Finney, and Finney would probably like to return to Pittsburgh, a team he grew up rooting for and with whom he is familiar.
The Steelers signaled their thoughts on Finney when they let Matt Feiler start at left guard against the Rams in 2019, just a week after Finney had done so. They were preparing for their future and acknowledged that he wasn’t a part of it, that he didn’t quite measure up.
Pretty much anything above the minimum is more than they would be interested in paying Finney at this point. Any other center they sign will have substantial starting experience, like a Russell Bodine. Finney has 12 spot starts along the offensive line, the majority of which were at guard.