On the heels of the Pittsburgh Steelers losing on Sunday to the New York Jets at home, it certainly feels like rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett will be named the team’s new starter by head coach Mike Tomlin this week. If indeed that’s the case, what will happen to former starter Mitch Trubisky? Could he actually wind up being traded? Well, that’s what NFL insider Jason La Canfora thinks could happen in his latest offering for the Washington Post.
“Don’t be shocked, either, if the Steelers end up moving Trubisky before the trade deadline, now just a month away, with inevitable QB injuries mounting around the league and this team open to stockpiling more draft capital,” La Canfora wrote on Monday.
While it’s probably not unthinkable that the Steelers could wind up trading away Trubisky by the November 1 trade deadline, I would be a bit surprised if such a transaction wound up taking place. Personally, I still feel like if any Steelers’ quarterback winds up being traded in the next month that it would end up being third-stringer Mason Rudolph, who has yet to dress for a game this season. Unless Trubisky just outright demanded a trade, I just can’t imagine the Steelers trading him away this season. Maybe they prove me wrong if they lose their next three or four games, which is quite possible.
Trubisky is not killing the Steelers from a salary standpoint in 2022, and with Pickett now poised to become the new starter, I don’t think anyone needs to worry about the veteran hitting any playtime or performance incentives in his contract for this season, all of which were considered to be not-likely-to-be-earned when he signed his deal. Unless the Steelers were to get an offer of at least a third-round pick, there really isn’t much incentive to trade Trubisky away this season.
Now, could Trubisky be traded away before the 2023 regular season gets underway? How about after the 2022 season ends and before the 2023 league year arrives in March? Well, that’s certainly possible, especially if he were to wind up hitting playtime incentives in 2022 that result in triggering a March roster bonus clause of either $1 or $4 million. As things stand right now, Trubisky is scheduled to earn a $8 million base salary in 2023 and that’s it. Once again, it would require him moving back into a starter’s role fairly soon for him to have any chance at hitting any of his incentives.
Should, however, the Steelers wind up dealing Trubisky before this year’s trade deadline, the team would be left with Pickett as the only quarterback under contract for the 2023 season as Rudolph, if not dealt by November 1, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. That’s yet another reason to think that Trubisky won’t be dealt until possibly during or after the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, so that the team doesn’t leave itself uncovered at the backup quarterback position until another one can be drafted or signed in free agency.
Trubisky being on the Steelers’ 2023 Week 1 roster with an $8 million salary seems really unlikely at this point, especially if Pickett continues to progress and thus not relinquish the starting job due to poor play. So, with that, Trubisky could indeed wind up being traded at some point, but just not by this year’s deadline to do so. Four weeks is a long time to wait to see if that’s the case, however, as plenty of injuries around the league at the quarterback position could happen that result in a team offering the Steelers a deal for Trubisky that Pittsburgh can’t refuse. Stay tuned.