The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need to be answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Can this Steelers offense win with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback?
The presence of Kenny Pickett renders the question moot, barring extreme circumstances, but extreme circumstances are why teams pay for backups. Just look at the San Francisco 49ers, who are one game away from Brock Purdy starting a Super Bowl.
The question is, of course, can the Steelers win with Mitch Trubisky? And I’m sure you know why we’re asking it. Because team president Art Rooney II just recently said that they can. So now we want to discuss the validity of the statement.
For the purposes of this discussion, I want to define winning as being a borderline playoff team with a winning record, because I don’t think we should expect more out of Trubisky than we do Pickett, and I doubt a lot of fans are buying 2024 Super Bowl tickets.
So this is where we are. In a scenario in which Pickett doesn’t play this season, it doesn’t matter why, could Trubisky take the 2023 Steelers roster, with their schedule, to, say, a 10-7 or 11-6 record and make the playoffs?
The Steelers are on the hook for $8 million for Trubisky in 2023 if they don’t let him go this offseason. There has been some speculation that they would cut him, or at least ask him to take a pay cut knowing that he might not accept, resulting in him being cut, but Rooney’s remarks suggested this was unfounded.
Pittsburgh is going to need a backup one way or another, and, well, I think we know Mason Rudolph is not going to be that guy unless he just absolutely doesn’t get a single offer elsewhere in the NFL. So if they didn’t want to pay Trubisky $8 million, they would have to add another quarterback.