2022 Stock Watch – QB Mitch Trubisky – Stock Down

Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.

Player: QB Mitch Trubisky

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: With the Steelers’ selection of quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the clock is officially ticking on Mitch Trubisky’s time as their starter, and the time could expire before the start of the regular season.

For the Steelers to enter a draft with no viable starting option at a key position is incredibly rare. Often enough, when tasked with replacing a key starter, they usually sign a mid-level free agent and then draft a player at the position high.

That’s what they did this year with Ben Roethlisberger retiring, signing former second overall pick Mitch Trubisky to a two-year deal with a base value of $14.25 million, a contract that will still look just fine as a high-level backup, if that’s how it ends up playing out.

It very well could, as the Steelers just drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round, the most NFL-ready quarterback in the class. Regardless of what his ceiling is, his floor is high, so it wouldn’t be some kind of stunning upset if he were named the starter before a meaningful snap were taken.

That’s no guarantee, but even if Trubisky does assume the starting position, it will be under pretense. Everybody will be wondering just how long his tenure will last before Pickett is inserted into the lineup—will it be in 2023? Will it be sometime after midseason in 2022? After the bye week?

With a backup like Pickett, Trubisky’s leash will be that much shorter, knowing that their number two is someone whom they have every intention of being their number one sooner rather than later. All they need is an excuse to yank the free agent out and put the draft pick in.

I don’t think the Steelers have any intention nor interest of ‘rushing’ Pickett into the lineup before they believe he’s ready, however. Barring injury or some kind of performance-based benching, we shouldn’t see him taking the opening snap before the team intends for him to take every opening snap for the next decade or two. What this move means, though, is that they absolutely do not expect Trubisky to be taking those opening snaps even a year or two from now.

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