The Steelers faced quarterback uncertainty for the first time in a generation last offseason, after Ben Roethlisberger retired. That ultimately drove the team to draft Kenny Pickett as his successor, but not before adding veteran Mitch Trubisky in free agency.
The contract he signed to join the Steelers – two years, $14.25MM in base value – suggested that he would handle starting duties for a brief stretch before Pickett took over for good. Trubisky had a very modest salary and cap hit in 2022, but those figures jump to $8MM and $10.625MM, respectively, next season.
Given the increased burden Trubisky would represent on the Steelers’ cap, along with the fact that they handed the reins over to Pickett earlier than expected, many have expected the former to be headed elsewhere this offseason. Indeed, it was reported in December that both Trubisky and third-stringer Mason Rudolph were not likely to remain in Pittsburgh for 2023, and that the Steelers would re-build the bottom of their depth chart at the position. In Trubisky’s case, that may no longer be anticipated.
When asked about the former second overall pick’s Pittsburgh future, Steelers owner Art Rooney II said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, “I expect Mitch will be on the roster next year and be an effective backup if we need him. I think he showed that he can be that. We can win with him” (subscription required).
Trubisky, 28, started five games in 2022, making an additional two appearances in place of Pickett, who suffered a pair of concussions as a rookie. The former Bear and Bill struggled in his brief stint as a No. 1 again, throwing more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four). Pittsburgh’s passing attack certainly did not erupt in efficiency with Pickett at the helm, but the first-rounder put any potential controversy to rest with his play down the stretch in particular.
The Steelers would save $8MM by releasing Trubisky, making him a somewhat logical cut candidate. Pittsburgh could put those savings to good use, given how tight they are against the 2023 cap ceiling, though a replacement would of course need to be signed. Kaboly names Gardner Minshew, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton as experienced passers who could likely be added on short-term, low-cost contracts. If Rooney’s remarks hold true, however, the Steelers could maintain the status quo with their top two QBs next season.