BJ Finney went from a medium-prized signing by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2020 offseason to shipped out of town by the trade deadline. He ended up not playing a single offensive snap for the Seahawks or Cincinnati Bengals last season. And Friday morning, the Bengals cut him.
A new ESPN report from Jeremy Fowler and Brady Henderson explains the reason for his struggles. They cite lack of an offseason program that hampered him once the regular season began.
With Covid restrictions on team physicals, B.J. Finney struggled to properly train last offseason over fear he'd lose a $2M signing bonus w/ Seattle if he got hurt. He hasn't played an offensive snap since, now hits free agency (per @BradyHenderson and me)https://t.co/8HzNeJBCyQ
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 5, 2021
“It put a player like him in a bad situation — he literally couldn’t work out to get in shape, and he was in a funk all year because of it,” according to one source in the ESPN report. “This is the one time you can set yourself up for life, and if you tweak your back or do anything, you’re in jeopardy of losing your contract.”
The reason for the extra cautiousness was Finney not wanting to lose his $2 million signing bonus the Seahawks gave him after signing him. Had he not followed protocol perfectly and got sick, or gotten hurt with his own workout plan away from the team facility, there was a chance Seattle could go after his money for reckless behavior. That seemed to get him off track before the season ever began. He lost out on a starting gig along the offensive line and quickly fell out of favor.
Here was one such training camp report from Sports Illustrated.
“But ever since training camp began, reports have alluded to the contrary, saying that fourth year lineman Ethan Pocic has been getting the brunt of the workload [over Finney] with the Seahawks’ first team offense.”
It’s one of those situations that’s impossible to judge him the outside. Reading this report makes a lot more sense, even if there’s an element of spin here now that Finney is a free agent and looking for a new home.
Finney was flipped to the Bengals in the deal to acquire Carlos Dunlap. But his playing time didn’t pick up in Cincinnati aside from a handful of special teams snaps on the field goal unit.
As we wrote this morning, and the reason for writing this article, Finney is a logical option to return to Pittsburgh. And this report could make the Steelers – and fans – feel easier about understanding why 2020 was such a lost year for him. Returning to the Steelers’ system may be the best thing for him right now and Pittsburgh clearly has needs along the interior.