The Seahawks made their first addition of an outside free agent during the legal tampering period Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with former Pittsburgh Steeler interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney.
The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the move and said Finney’s contract could be worth up to $8 million.
According to details from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Finney will get $4.5 million guaranteed, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and a guaranteed salary of $2.5 million in 2020, with a salary of $3.075 million in 2021, with the rest in roster bonuses and playing time incentives.
The signing meant Seahawks were finally on the board in free agency other than having agreed to re-sign a few of their own players, such as defensive tackle Jarran Reed and tight end Luke Willson.
Finney originally entered the league with the Steelers in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State.
He has played in 59 games since then with 13 starts, listed as playing guard and center, and even some tight end in 2017. According to ESPN, Finney has played 427 snaps during his career at left guard, 381 at center and 139 at right guard.
Finney started four games last year, according to Pro Football Reference, two coming at center in place of the suspended Maurkice Pouncey. The Steelers won both games, against the Bengals and the Browns.
And adding a versatile inside player makes sense as Seattle has some uncertainty at both guard and center.
Mike Iupati, who was Seattle’s primary left guard last season, is now a free agent and has seemed unlikely to return — and likely that much more certain not to be back now — while the center spot also has some questions.
Justin Britt, the starting center since 2016, suffered an ACL injury Oct. 27 against Atlanta and also has a significant salary cap number for 2020 at $11.4 million, with Seattle able to save $8.5 million of he is released.
Joey Hunt started the rest of the season in Britt’s place and was given an original round tender on Monday as a restricted free agent so that Seattle can retain his rights. But Seattle may want competition at center even if Britt is released and also might view either Hunt or Finney as an ideal swing backup player at the inside spots. Ethan Pocic, who will be entering the final season of his four-year rookie deal, can also play center.
Seattle lost valued backup tackle George Fant on Monday when he agreed to a three-year deal with the Jets while last year’s starting right tackle, Germain Ifedi, will also be a free agent. Jamarco Jones, who filled in for Iupati at times last season, could be viewed as a logical replacement for Ifedi at right tackle, which would also be a factor in wanting to add an interior player such as Finney.
Finney was a teammate with current Seahawk Tyler Lockett at Kansas State, where he was also voted a team captain three straight years after making the team as a walk-on.
The signing received an A-plus grade from WalterFootball, which wrote: “The Seahawks hadn’t done anything in free agency thus far beyond signing Greg Olsen. This, however, makes up for Seattle’s idle status up to this point. This is a stellar signing. B.J. Finney played very well last season when taking over for the suspended Maurkice Pouncey. He showed the ability to be a solid starting lineman in the NFL, so the Seahawks are getting him for great value. Finney can start at both center and guard, so the versatility, upside and price combine to give Seattle an A+ grade.”