The Steelers may have locked up the next key cog in their offensive line after signing Stefen Wisniewski to replace Ramon Foster and B.J. Finney.
After the retirement of Ramon Foster and the flurry of contract restructures and cuts to create cap space, Steeler Nation eagerly scanned for reports on a B.J. Finney contract. Alas, the news broke that Seattle had signed Finney to a 2-year deal worth 8 million overall. Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Gerry Dulac indicated that the Steelers had at least some interest in bringing him back.
It was one of those cases where they weren’t going to stand in his way if he got a better deal but to check back just in case they would think about matching. You saw what they chose.
Even with both of their top experienced options off the table, the Steelers acted fast and signed veteran OG/C Stefen Wisniewski to a 2-year deal worth 2.85 million dollars. While some still wish that Finney remained with the team, Wisniewski at his price will be the far better deal for the Steelers.
Guess what Steelers fans…
I’m coming Home!!!!!
And I’m coming to win!!!! pic.twitter.com/UjPdpE9ezd
— Stefen Wisniewski (@stefenwiz61) March 20, 2020
Finney perfectly encompassed the idea of “next man up” in Pittsburgh. A UDFA from Kansas State in 2015, Finney would go on to start 13 games as the top backup interior offensive lineman during his span with the team. While on the field he put up solid tape, constantly opening lanes for the running backs and preforming admirably as a pass blocker. After four years of being a spot starter, Finney deserves the chance to start.
While Steelers fans loved him and were ready to turn Foster’s spot over to him, it appears as though the Steelers weren’t as keen to the idea. While Finney did sign a more expensive contract than Wisniewski, his 3.5 million first-year cap hit was well within the limits of what the Steelers could afford. Case in point, they signed Eric Ebron to a 2-year 12-million dollar contract a few days after Finney’s contract. Clearly, the Steelers didn’t believe Finney was worth four million dollars a season.
This was hinted at last season, and more specifically in the game against the Rams. In that game, Ramon Foster was injured, and instead of turning to Finney, they opted to move RT Matt Feiler to the inside. This move may become more permanent this season, as there has been heavy speculation that Feiler is the best candidate to move inside to replace Foster.
With Wisniewski, they are getting a veteran that can start at both guard and center in a pinch. His signing gives the team flexibility; the Steelers can move Feiler to guard, draft one at pick 49, or just roll with Wisniewski if they deem him the best fit. A contract like Finney’s would likely dictate he would have to start, as a four million dollar a year backup is pretty pricy.
Wisniewski is no slouch either. He has performed at a high level as both a starter and a backup over his 9-year career. During that span, he has started 103 games. No matter what position he plays and whether it’s as a backup or a starter, the Steelers added a strong veteran presence at a very minimal cost.
In no way do I believe that Finney will bust with the Seahawks. He was a great player during his time in Pittsburgh and he more than deserves the chance to start. While he may have more potential as a starter than Wisniewski, the minimal cost and experience along the line are valuable for the Steelers. While I hope for the best with Finney in Seattle, I also actively look forward to Wisniewski lining up for the Steelers.