Quarterback Situation Named Steelers’ ‘Most Questionable’ Offseason Move By CBS Sports

Time and time again, the NFL shows that there’s no easy fix under center at the quarterback position when transitioning from a legendary player into the great unknown at the most important position.

The Pittsburgh Steelers found that out this offseason following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, leading to some serious changes at the quarterback position for the black and gold. Pittsburgh brought in veteran free agent Mitch Trubisky on the first day of the legal tampering window in free agency on a two-year, $14 million deal, which could reach up to $27 million in incentives.

Along with the signing of Trubisky, the Steelers also drafted former Pittsburgh Panthers’ star quarterback Kenny Pickett with the No. 20 overall selection, and added quarterback Chris Oladokun in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, reshaping the quarterback room entirely.

Despite attempting to remain competitive overall while taking shots on quarterbacks they believed in, CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin called the quarterback situation the Steelers’ “most questionable” offseason move in his piece highlighting those questionable moves for all 16 AFC teams. 

“The Steelers are trying to trade a middle path between rebuilding in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era and competing for … something with their high-level defense,” Dubin writes. “T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick deserve for the Steelers to go for it while they’re in their primes. But Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are not exactly an inspiring duo under center.

“Somehow, Trubisky became sought after while sitting behind Josh Allen in Buffalo last year. What he did to deserve being one of the league’s most coveted quarterbacks this offseason is beyond me,” Dubin added. “Perhaps Pickett will be the answer, but it’s likely to take some time. By the time he’s ready to quarterback a team for a playoff run, the defense might be out of its title-winning window.”

Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, and they don’t certainly grow on trees immediately after the departure of one — unless you’re the Green Bay Packers apparently.

Replacing Roethlisberger was never going to be an easy task, but the Steelers threw everything at the wall they possibly could in hopes of seeing what sticks. Trubisky really didn’t do anything to deserve the hype and attention he drew in free agency after playing less than 40 snaps in Buffalo last season. However, he brings a high pedigree to the table, being a former No. 2 overall pick with 29 career wins and multiple trips to the playoffs.

That obviously factored into the Steelers’ decision, as did the fact that one of two GMs that were at Trubisky’s Pro Day in 2017 happened to be now-retired former Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert. They were familiar with him, had done some background work on him, and felt comfortable adding the type of player and leader Trubisky is. That can’t be discounted.

As for Pickett, all the talk throughout the offseason was about the Steelers adding a quarterback in the draft. Here at Steelers Depot, all we asked for was the Steelers to show some conviction in their decision making at the position. The Steelers had their choice of signal caller at No. 20 overall, and very clearly Pickett was their top quarterback.

That also matters.

While their perceived ceilings might not be high compared to some of the top names at the position across the NFL, it’s very clear the Steelers are aiming to build an old-school team that’s focused on running the football at a high level, playing physical defense and having a quarterback do just enough to win games at a consistent level.

Will that be enough to win a Super Bowl in this window with the Steelers’ defense as currently constructed? Only time will tell. Pittsburgh certainly could have done much worse at the position in the offseason, though.

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