B.J. Finney

North Notes: Packers, Steelers, Browns

The Packers made their Hall of Famer-to-future Hall of Famer quarterback baton pass because they planned far ahead in 2005, drafting Aaron Rodgers as Brett Favre‘s heir apparent. Green Bay has made noise on the quarterback front this year, with the team’s Jordan Love interest being the most recent example. Rodgers has said he wants to play into his 40s, though, and Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller notes a successor is not viewed as a must in this draft. Rodgers, 36, is under contract through 2023 and has received a Pro Bowl invite in every season in which he’s played more than nine games since 2010. The Packers are thin at backup quarterback, however, with only UDFAs Tim Boyle and Manny Wilkins on the roster behind Rodgers. It would stand to reason Brian Gutekunst will explore the addition of a developmental player to fill that role.

Moving to some AFC North matters, here is the latest on the North divisions:

  • James Conner has fared reasonably well as Le’Veon Bell‘s successor, landing on the 2018 Pro Bowl roster and totaling 20 touchdowns in 23 games over the past two seasons. But he has battled injuries in multiple years. Despite the running back being a Pittsburgh native, The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette does not see the Steelers exploring an extension for the contract-year starter (subscription required). Third-year back Jaylen Samuels and second-year cog Benny Snell — each a Day 3 pick — reside as Conner’s backups, pointing to a possible addition at the position in the upcoming draft.
  • Despite giving B.J. Finney a second-round RFA tender last year, the Steelers did not make an effort to re-sign the guard in free agency, Bouchette adds. Finney defected to the Seahawks on a two-year, $8MM deal. Either sliding Stefen Wisniewski into the recently retired Ramon Foster‘s left guard spot or moving starting right tackle Matt Feiler to that position may be on the table, Bouchette adds. Foster’s 145 starts mark the fifth-most by a Steelers offensive lineman, so the franchise will be trudging into new territory next season.
  • Viewed as a landing spot for one of this draft’s top tackles, the Browns are doing their homework. They had planned to make Georgia alum Andrew Thomas one of their “30” visits, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but the NFL nixed pre-draft visits early in the process because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Browns instead conducted a video-chat session with the first-round talent. The Browns, who hold the No. 10 overall pick, have not addressed their left tackle need. They restructured Chris Hubbard‘s deal, however, putting the embattled right tackle in position to keep his job. Thomas saw time at both left and right tackle with the Bulldogs. Thomas said, via Cabot, he’s spoken to seven or eight teams — mostly those with top-10 picks.

Seahawks Sign OL B.J. Finney

B.J. Finney is joining the Seahawks. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the lineman has signed a two-year, $8MM deal with Seattle.

The 2015 undrafted free agent out of Kansas State has spent his entire five-year career with the Steelers. Finney emerged into a rotational lineman in Pittsburgh, and he’s appeared in 16 games in each of the past two seasons.

In total, the 28-year-old has appeared in 59 games throughout his career. He also has 13 starts, including four this past season.

Seattle, like any team at this time of year, is naturally searching for offensive line help. Finney is their first notable signing, although they did re-sign tight end Luke Willson.

Steelers OL B.J. Finney Signs RFA Tender

Restricted free agent offensive lineman B.J. Finney has signed his second-round tender, per the league’s transactions wire. Finney will now collect $3.095MM for the 2019 campaign.

A former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, Finney has appeared in 43 games over three seasons in Pittsburgh, but has made only nine total starts. Finney has typically earned excellent grades from Pro Football Focus, but sample size is an issue, as he’s never topped 300 offensive snaps in a single season.

However, he has proven himself as a capable reserve, and he could be the next man up should starting guards Ramon Foster or David DeCastro suffer an injury.

If he continues to perform well in limited action, he could put himself in line for a starting job when he hits unrestricted free agency next year.

Steelers Tender RFA B.J. Finney At Second-Round Level

The Steelers have placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent offensive lineman B.J. Finney, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Finney will now collect $3.095MM for the 2018 campaign once he signs his tender. Theoretically, he could sign an offer sheet with another club, but that team would have to be willing to surrender a second-round pick in order to pry him away from the Steelers. While Finney proved himself as a capable reserve last season, it seems incredibly unlikely another team would be willing to sacrifice that sort of draft capital.

A former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, Finney has appeared in 43 games over three seasons in Pittsburgh, but has made only nine total starts. Finney has typically earned excellent grades from Pro Football Focus, but sample size is an issue, as he’s never topped 300 offensive snaps in a single season.

That could change next year, as Finney may have the opportunity to take over for Ramon Foster at left guard. Foster, 33, will become an unrestricted free agent next month, and if he lands elsewhere, Finney will likely slide into the Steelers’ starting lineup.

North Notes: Mayfield, Steelers, Moore

Browns fans enjoyed the chance to see a matchup between the quarterback most assumed they’d select vs. the one they actually did on Thursday, and Baker Mayfield won the first round between he and Sam Darnold. The USC-developed passer loomed as the frontrunner to go No. 1 overall for months, until Mayfield buzz increased during draft week. However, it wasn’t that tough of a decision for John Dorsey, with Terry Pluto of cleveland.com noting the new Browns GM had a “far higher” grade on Mayfield than Darnold. Both Pluto and cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot write that a return to Tyrod Taylor as the starter doesn’t make sense, with Cabot adding the months-long stance to start Taylor over Mayfield was made by both Dorsey and Hue Jackson. After the Browns’ 21-17 win over the Jets, Dorsey, per Cabot, was overheard saying to owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, “I think I picked the right one,” appearing to reference the controversial Mayfield-over-Darnold selection.

Here’s the latest out of the North divisions:

  • Sterling Moore has a workout scheduled with the Bears for next week, Jane Slater of NFL.com tweets. A former Saints, Cowboys and Buccaneers starter, Moore failed to make the Lions’ 53-man roster out of training camp. The 28-year-old cornerback played six games with the Saints last season, his second stint in New Orleans.
  • The Steelers‘ corner situation will see a boost in a bigger-than-expected spot Monday night. Joe Haden appears set to return for Pittsburgh after missing Week 2, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets. Haden practiced fully on Saturday. Morgan Burnett, however, doesn’t look likely to suit up Monday. The Steelers listed their recently signed safety as doubtful to face the Buccaneers.
  • Pittsburgh’s reeling on its offensive line. David DeCastro will miss his second straight game because of the fractured right hand he suffered in Week 1. Marcus Gilbert is doubtful for Week 3 because of a hamstring malady. The Steelers declared DeCastro out, and the Associated Press notes B.J. Finney will start in his place. Matt Feiler is in line to start at right tackle for Gilbert, per the AP. The Steelers struggled to produce much on the ground in Week 2 without some key pieces, with James Conner being held to 17 rushing yards after a 135-yard debut in Cleveland. Of course, the Chiefs’ 21-0 start forced the Steelers to pass much more often than they would have otherwise done.
  • The Ravens did not make a move to adjust their cornerback situation on Saturday, meaning they’ll be down to four healthy players at this spot against the Broncos on Sunday. Rookie Anthony Averett will miss Week 3, Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun notes. This may force rookie UDFA Darious Williams into action. Although, Baltimore’s still in relatively good shape despite Averett and Jimmy Smith‘s absences. Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr and Tavon Young are available.

Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/18/16

Here are today’s reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL:

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

AFC Notes: Jets, Texans, Ravens, Finney

The Jets‘ $150MM secondary is in danger of becoming a bust, Brian Costello of the New York Post opines. For a while, it looked like the offseason additions of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist were paying off. However, the Jets have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 1,227 yards over their past four games and teams averaged 27.3 points per game on them during that run. Revis has been strong overall, but Cromartie has struggled mightily, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 100th out of 110 qualified corners.

As we wait to see whether Todd Bowles and the Jets’ defense can get things turned around, here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Texans only have two quarterbacks on their active roster, and one of them – Brian Hoyer – suffered a concussion during Monday’s game against the Bengals. However, head coach Bill O’Brien said on Tuesday that while the Texans have discussed adding a QB, they’re sticking with the roster as is for the time being (Twitter link via Adam Wexler of KPRC-TV Sports).
  • Placing Breshad Perriman on injured reserve, ending his rookie season before he saw a single snap, has further complicated the Ravens‘ uncertain wide receiver situation as the team heads into 2016, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. With the futures of Steve Smith and other wideouts up in the air, Baltimore had hoped to get an idea of what the team could expect from Perriman going forward, but he remains a question mark for now.
  • Offensive lineman B.J. Finney, who is currently on Pittsburgh’s practice squad, received a sizable raise from the Steelers and is now earning $25,588 per week, which is essentially the same as an active-roster, minimum-salary player, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.
  • According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is expected to receive consideration from the University of Miami for the school’s head coaching job.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/29/15

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad signings and cuts from around the NFL, with any additional moves added to the list throughout the day:

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: WR Shaq Evans (Twitter link via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Signed: S Ronald Martin (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com)
  • Cut: CB Keon Lyn

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Diego Chargers

St. Louis Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: DT Derrick Lott (press release)
  • Cut: CB Imoan Claiborne

Washington:

  • Signed: C Austin Reiter (Twitter link via Zac Boyer of the Washington Times)

Steelers Trim Roster To 53 Players

The Steelers have become the NFL’s first team to formally announce its roster moves to get down to 53 players in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. According to a team release, Pittsburgh has made the following moves:

Cut:

  • RB Jawon Chisholm
  • DL Matt Conrath
  • S Jordan Dangerfield
  • S Alden Darby
  • OL Reese Dismukes
  • OL B.J. Finney
  • CB Kevin Fogg
  • LB L.J. Fort
  • LB Shayon Green
  • RB Josh Harris
  • DL Ethan Hemer
  • S Gerod Holliman
  • LB Howard Jones
  • OL Doug Legursky
  • WR Shakim Phillips
  • DL Mike Thornton
  • CB B.W. Webb
  • WR Jarrod West

Waived/injured:

  • OL Kelvin Palmer
  • OL Mitchell Van Dyk

Those 20 cuts would get the Steelers down to 54 players from 75, since the team also traded punter Brad Wing yesterday. The club has also officially signed cornerback Ross Cockrell, bringing the roster count to 55. The final two moves will be to add running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the reserve/suspended list to start the year.