As all teams across the NFL begin shaping their roster for the 2021 season, there are bound to be players with ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers who end up on the free-agent market. As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals have released former Steelers center/guard B.J. Finney. The move saves the Bengals $3.275 million against the salary cap and carries no dead money.
We've released C B.J. Finney.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 5, 2021
The reason the Bengals can cut ties so easily with Finney without hurting their salary cap is because he did not initially sign with the Bengals upon leaving Pittsburgh. Finney signed a two-year contract worth $8 million with the Seattle Seahawks last offseason. Just before the NFL trading deadline, the Cincinnati Bengals acquired Finney along with a 2021 seventh-round draft pick exchange for defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Finney collected a total of $4.5 million of the contract between the Seahawks and the Bengals.
The departure of Finney last offseason has the Steelers in line for a sixth-round compensatory draft pick according to overthecap.com. The fact Finney was traded during the season and released in the offseason has no bearing on the compensatory formula.
In his five years in Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent, Finney spent 2015 on the Steelers practice squad before landing on the 53-man roster from 2016 to 2019. During his four years on the roster, Finney started a total of 13 games at either center or guard for the Steelers and logged over 1,000 offensive snaps.
Finney struggled away from Pittsburgh as he was unable to land a starting job in Seattle. Only appearing in six games for the Seahawks, Finney only saw time on special teams and did not log any offensive snap. Once traded to the Bengals, the only game in which Finney stepped onto the field was for two special team snaps in Week 10 against the Steelers.
The Steelers are currently lacking depth at the center position following the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, where they currently only have one player in J.C. Hassenauer who signed his exclusive rights tender on Thursday. Even with a new offensive line coach, the familiarity Finney has in Pittsburgh could make for a worthwhile acquisition if the price is right.
With Finney currently a Street Free Agent due to being released, he is free to sign a contract once the transaction has officially processed through the NFL office. While there is no guarantee he would land back in Pittsburgh, the Steelers at least looking into the option is quite likely.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, contract statuses, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.