Changes have been expected at the quarterback position in Pittsburgh, and an unsurprising move is taking place. Mitch Trubisky is set to part ways with the team, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. The team has since confirmed the move.
Trubisky began his Pittsburgh tenure as a bridge starter, but he was overtaken on the depth chart midway through Kenny Pickett‘s rookie season. Mason Rudolph then emerged as the team’s preferred option late in the 2023 campaign and through the wild-card round. As a result, signs pointed to Trubisky being let go ahead of free agency in 2024.
The former No. 2 pick was on the books for the next two seasons, having inked an extension last year. In spite of that, the Steelers will elect to cut bait well ahead of the new league year. Releasing Trubisky before June 1 would yield a dead cap charge of $4.6MM this year, and cap savings of just under $3MM. Designating him a post-June 1 release, however, would result in $5.25MM in savings compared to a $2.3MM dead cap charge. Teams are permitted to use the post-June 1 designation early in the offseason, but they do not realize the financial savings until after that date.
ESPN’s Brooke Pryor confirms this move is a mutual one, and it will allow Trubisky to seek out a new opportunity in a backup role. The 29-year-old made seven starts and 12 appearances with the Steelers, throwing more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (eight). Those figures helped inform today’s move, but it will no doubt hinder his market in free agency. Trubisky last served as a full-time starter during his time with the Bears, which ended in 2020.
With Trubisky no longer in the picture and Rudolph a pending free agent, Pickett is the only QB currently on the Steelers’ roster. The team remains confident in the latter’s potential, and he will enter the offseason atop the depth chart. Competition will be brought in, however, and that could include another new contract with Rudolph or an outside addition. Ryan Tannehill – who had a succesful run in Tennessee under new Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith – is believed to be on Pittsburgh’s radar.
Trubisky was due $11.25MM over the next two seasons, and he will aim to find a deal allowing him to match or better that total with a new team. He is younger than many of the other options in this year’s free agent QB class, but his underwhelming showing in Pittsburgh should limit his market to a low-cost, short-term agreement. It will be interesting to see where he winds up while the Steelers contemplate their next move under center.