In the easiest prediction of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason, the team wasted little time reuniting with B.J. Finney after the Cincinnati Bengals cut him. Finney spoke with Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley about returning to Pittsburgh and how excited he is to be back home.
“Honestly, it’s like coming home,” Finney told Varley. “You can’t wait to get home, so we are excited to be back. My family and I are excited to be back.”
Finney signed a one-year, Veteran Salary Benefit contract which comes as no surprise after his difficult 2020. He signed a two-year, $8 million with the Seattle Seahawks. But he had his training program interrupted by COVID and quickly fell behind in Seattle, losing out on a starting job and riding the bench until the team dealt him to Cincinnati. He didn’t see much more playing time there either and with a relatively large 2021 cap hit, the Bengals released him.
Finney says it didn’t take long for the Steelers to show their interest in a reunion.
“It was within a couple of days of being released by Cincinnati that Mr. (Kevin) Colbert and Omar (Khan) reached out to my agent. They were like Pittsburgh is interested in bringing you back.”
He was released by the Bengals on March 5th and signed by the Steelers exactly one week later. It was a logical, sensible signing following Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement that left a huge void at center. Finney isn’t guaranteed to replace him, Pittsburgh is still likely to draft a center, but he’s veteran insurance. Finney started 13 games across four years with the Steelers, working his way up from an undrafted free agent to valuable backup at center and guard.
As Finney tells it, Mike Tomlin in leaving Finney’s 2021 role up to him.
“Coach (Mike) Tomlin told me my fate is in my hands and we will see where it leads.”
At worst, Finney will be the backup center and potentially backup guard too, competing with Rashaad Coward and Joe Haeg for that role. He’ll also bring a source of experience and leadership in a rapidly changing offensive line room.
In 2019, the starting offensive line looked like: Alejandro Villanueva-Ramon Foster-Maurkice Pouncey-David DeCastro-Matt Feiler. Of that group, only DeCastro remains. It’s a big shift in a long time. With the Steelers certain to draft at least one and probably two offensive linemen in this draft, Finney can be a mentor and leader to those guys. That in itself makes the signing worth it.