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Buy Or Sell: Mitch Trubisky Will Be Gone In 2023

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 gone before the start of the 2023 season.

Explanation: After the Steelers signed veteran Mitch Trubisky to a modest two-year contract this offseason, they used their first-round draft pick on Kenny Pickett, whom they had rated as the highest quarterback in the class. Trubisky is due a base salary of $8 million in 2023.

Buy:

I don’t know if Kenny Pickett is going to start the 2022 regular-season opener, but he sure as hell is going to start the opener in 2023. One way or another, he’s going to be their quarterback by year two. There’s simply no way they can have made the investment in him that they did without finding out if he is their guy by actually playing him.

That makes Mitch Trubisky a rather expensive backup a year from now, due $8 million in base salary, while they still have the option of retaining Mason Rudolph after this season, surely for less than $8 million, if they wanted to. And they already have another rookie quarterback that they drafted in Chris Oladokun.

Sell:

$8 million isn’t such a crazy price to pay for an experienced veteran backup, and it gets less crazy with each passing year thanks to the rising cap. Having a starting quarterback under a rookie contract goes a long way toward making that possible, as well. Pickett’s base salary in 2023 isn’t going to crunch the cap, I assure you of that.

The Steelers know better than most franchises how important it is to have a good number two option. And for an organization that always claims to strive for a championship every year, it would make no sense for them to cut Trubisky just because he’s not starting in 2023—and that’s assuming he’s not starting in 2023.

And here’s the other thing: after this season, they could always try to sign him to an extension if he were open to it. If he loses out on a starting job to a rookie, he’s probably not going to be headhunted by other teams to be their starter. Or if they really somehow manage to find themselves in a tough place against the cap, they could add void years to his deal.

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