Jeremy Fowler of ESPN takes a deeper look at the reason the Bengals are releasing G B.J. Finney, reporting that Finney struggled to train last offseason, not wanting to lose a $2 million signing bonus from the Seahawks based on restricted physicals.
“It put a player like him in a bad situation — he literally couldn’t work out to get in shape, and he was in a funk all year because of it,” a source close to Finney told Fowler. “This is the one time you can set yourself up for life, and if you tweak your back or do anything, you’re in jeopardy of losing your contract.”
Finney signed a two-year, $8 million deal with Seattle but never played a snap for the team after showing up to training camp in bad shape, having slowed down on his workouts to avoid getting hurt.
After being traded to the Bengals for DE Carlos Dunlap, Finney again never played a snap, the main problem is that with teams unable to oversee physicals due to COVID-19, there was a clause in some players’ contracts that said a failed physical would result in forfeiting bonus money.
The way the contracts the Eagles and Rams gave QBs Carson Wentz and Jared Goff have aged has sparked a discussion about how quickly to rush into a major commitment with a young, developing quarterback. However, Browns GM Andrew Berry said those situations won’t influence how they handle QB Baker Mayfield, who is eligible to be extended starting this offseason.
“I don’t know that anything that has happened to any of the other 31 teams has a major bearing, in terms of how we are going to address the quarterback situation here,” Berry said via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “To me, we’ll evaluate that internally and make a decision we think is best for our team and our organization. I think it would maybe be a stretch to say that’s going to serve as a cautionary tale or any type of blueprint for us. We’ll make the best decision for us with the information we have.”
Berry added that while Mayfield can obviously continue to get better, the organization is pleased with what they’ve seen from him so far in his first three seasons.
“Like all of our players, we want to see him take strides and show growth as we go into year two within our offensive and defensive systems,” Berry said. “Baker is the first quarterback in — you guys probably know the years more than I do — that’s led this team to the playoffs and a playoff victory.
“He’s endured an enormous amount of adversity in his young career just quite honestly with the changes that he’s gone through with the coaching staffs, front offices, offensive systems, and he’s risen above it all. And so I think we all saw him grow from week to week to week last year and we expect him to continue that progress and have a fantastic 2021 season for us.”