I can’t quite frankly recall the last time that the Pittsburgh Steelers have ever traded a player away during the course of a season before yesterday, when they sent third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick.
They have in recent years made an in-season trade to acquire a player, at least off the top of my head. In 2013, they sent a conditional draft pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for tackle Levi Brown, who was injured before his first game.
As has been the case with many of the situations in which the Steelers have traded a player away, it became a matter of the value being too good to pass up, and not necessarily a situation in which they were looking to make a trade. The Martavis Bryant trade would be another example.
Even though the Steelers were very fond of Dobbs, certainly as a person, and as a player as well, to get a fifth-round pick for him is noteworthy, though it should be noted that it became a seller’s market for the Jaguars with Nick Foles getting injured.
And so after two seasons and one game, Dobbs goes from being a Steeler to becoming a Jaguar, where he will serve as the direct backup to a rookie sixth-round pick, rather than as the number three quarterback who doesn’t dress behind a backup who seems entrenched ahead of him.
On paper, it’s a better opportunity for him. Though Gardner Minshew actually looked pretty good seeing his first action—and certainly accurate—we’re talking about one game of experience. If he struggles, it’s not impossible that Dobbs could actually push for playing time provided that he shows to be a quick study. As he packed hi bags, however, he also offered a farewell to Pittsburgh:
All love for the Burgh! I appreciate the @steelers for the opportunity to start my @NFL career.💛 Thank you to everyone for the well wishes. So grateful for the support, encouragement & friendships. Incredibly blessed & excited for new beginnings with the @Jaguars!🚀 #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/BGQpSZtglV
— Josh Dobbs (@josh_dobbs1) September 10, 2019
A fourth-round pick in 2017 out of Tennessee, Dobbs was the first quarterback the Steelers drafted since taking Landry Jones in the fourth round in 2013. He spent his rookie season as the third-string quarterback, but unseated Jones last season, which resulted in his being released.
Dobbs was the number two quarterback through all of last season, but he struggled during his only extensive playing time in a late-season loss to the Oakland Raiders. 2018 third-round pick Mason Rudolph sizably outpaced him in his second offseason, from training camp through the preseason.
The final piece of the puzzle that needs discussing is the fact that the Steelers were also pleased with the performance of rookie college free agent Devlin Hodges, whom they will reportedly sign to the 53-man roster to replace Dobbs. Hodges got nearly as much playing time as either Rudolph or Dobbs during the preseason, and knowing that he was still available likely played a significant role in their willingness to part with him, even considering the value of a fifth-round pick, given how much importance they place on carrying three quarterbacks.