Former Steelers Lineman Traded to Bengals for 2x Pro Bowler

BJ Finney

Rob Carr/Getty Images Quarterback Devlin Hodges of the Pittsburgh Steelers waits for the snap from center B.J. Finney on December 29, 2019.

According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network/, the Cincinnati Bengals have traded two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh-round draft pick.

Both Dunlap and Finney were strong candidates to be traded by their respective teams, especially Dunlap, 31, who has been increasingly unhappy with his diminished role this season and was involved in a sideline argument with Bengals defensive line coach Nick Eason (also a former Steeler) during Cincinnati’s 37-34 loss to Cleveland last Sunday.

Carlos Dunlap’s Career with the Bengals

Dunlap (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) was Cincinnati’s second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft (54th overall) out of the University of Florida. He has anchored Cincy’s defensive line for the better part of the last eleven seasons. During that time frame he has started 115 of 155 games and been credited with 490 tackles (328 solo), with 103 tackles for loss, 227 quarterback hits, 20 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 60 passes defensed, two interceptions and 82.5 sacks, including a career high 13.5 sacks in 2015. He made the Pro Bowl following the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Dunlap has two seasons left on the contract extension he signed in 2018. His salary is $7.8 million this season and $10.1 million next year, but he would count only $2.25 million in dead money against the cap next year if the Seahawks release him after this season.

B.J. Finney’s Career with the Steelers, Seahawks

As for Finney (6-foot-4, 318 pounds), he entered the NFL in 2015, signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State. After working his way up from the practice squad, he started 13 of 65 games with the Steelers between 2016 and 2019, playing both center and guard.

The Seahawks signed Finney, 29, to a two-year, $8 million contract back in March with the expectation that he would be a starter, but he hasn’t been able to crack the lineup. His contract provides him a salary of $2.5 million this season and $3.1 million next year, but would only cost the Bengals $1 million in dead money on the team’s 2021 salary cap if released after this season.

Why the Dunlap-Finney Trade?

By trading for Dunlap, Seattle (5-1) improves the weakest part of its team (its pass rush), and enhances its chances of reaching the Super Bowl without giving up much in the way of assets. The Seahawks have recorded only nine sacks in six games this season.

By acquiring Finney, the rebuilding Bengals (1-5-1) reduce their salary obligations both this year and next and get an extra draft pick. All while possibly bettering the protection of rookie franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, who has already been sacked a league-high 28 times this season.

Assuming Finney starts for the Bengals, the Steelers can expect to face him twice this year, on Sunday November 15 in Pittsburgh and on Monday December 21 in Cincinnati.

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