With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Mitch Trubisky will be the Steelers’ primary starting quarterback over the next two seasons.
Explanation: The Steelers signed Trubisky to a two-year contract with a base value of $14.25 million that could rise up to $27 million in total. He is the only quarterback on the roster currently under contract beyond this season, and is clearly favored to start in 2022.
Let’s start with this fact: It’s far from a foregone conclusion that the Steelers draft a quarterback this year, whether in the first round or otherwise. In fact, I would argue there’s a very good chance that they do not. It’s highly unlikely that a quarterback will be the best player available at 20, for one thing.
Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are certainly not going to be beating him out of a starting job, either. One can easily make the case that that says more about them than it does about him, but either way, it remains the case.
So we get to 2023 and Trubisky has started a season. He probably does—okay. He does enough to win. He managed to win in Chicago, after all, with a worse roster around him. The Steelers will probably be looking at quarterbacks in the first round, but even if they end up drafting one, they’re not the type to throw a rookie in right away. If Trubisky did alright, they’re not going to start any rookie that they would likely be in a position to draft in 2023. So that likely means another year of Trubisky starting, at least at the beginning of the year.
While it may not be a sure thing that the Steelers will draft a quarterback in the first round this year, they will certainly be looking at the opportunity to do so. Chances are they have a certain fondness for Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis, at least, amongst the first-round candidates.
If either of them are drafted, they’re probably starting in 2023. We can’t even guarantee that Trubisky will be here in 2023. It’s not like they signed him to a deal that would shackle them to him against their will. If they don’t see him as their best option, they could seek a cheaper alternative.
Hell, maybe he won’t even win the starting job this year. I’m not betting on that one, but we’re not talking about Joe Burrow here.