Steelers Likely To Change Backup QBs This Offseason?

The Steelers have their quarterback of both the present and the future in first-round rookie Kenny Pickett, but their depth chart at the position could see plenty of turnover soon. Backup Mitch Trubisky and third-stringer Mason Rudolph are in a position to look elsewhere this offseason.

Detailing both veterans’ situations, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that it is “a safe bet to assume” Rudolph and Trubisky will not be back in 2023. The former is a pending free agent, so he will have the option of signing with a team which will give him at least a No. 2 role. That appeared unlikely to be available this year in Pittsburgh, given the addition of Trubisky in free agency and the subsequent decision to draft Pickett.

Those moves made Rudolph a logical trade candidate, but his experience and the relative uncertainty surrounding the other two signal-callers led the Steelers to keep him in the fold. The 27-year-old has made 10 career starts, but only two of those have come since 2019. That will no doubt lead to a modest free agent market, but with the prospect of starting in Pittsburgh no longer in play, a move elsewhere would come as little surprise. Dulac does add, however, that the Steelers would “probably” welcome the Oklahoma State product back if he were interested in re-signing.

Trubisky, meanwhile, has one year remaining on the $14MM deal he signed this offseason. That contract put him in line to operate as a starter after a one-year No. 2 stint with the Bills last season, but the addition of Pickett one month later – which, as Dulac mentions, the Steelers did not inform Trubisky of prior to doing so – led to immediate predictions that he would be a temporary starter at best. The former Bear was replaced by Pickett midway through Week 4, and the Steelers have committed to him as the starter moving forward.

Dulac therefore predicts a mutual parting of ways via a trade this offseason which will allow Trubisky, 28, to at least compete for a No. 1 gig with what would be his fourth career franchise. His 2023 cap hit of $10.6MM would make him an inexpensive bridge starter, or an experienced backup for any number of teams.

Pittsburgh will move forward with Pickett at the helm into 2023, but a departure from both Rudolph and Trubisky would leave the team in need of multiple additions. On that point, Dulac names Joshua Dobbs as a name to watch, as the 2017 Steelers fourth-rounder has bounced around to the Jaguars and Browns but has still yet to make an appearance for a team other than Pittsburgh. In any case, the team’s plans at the position will be worth monitoring when they turn their attention to rebounding from a disappointing 2022 campaign.

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