Mitch Trubisky’s future with the Pittsburgh Steelers remains up in the air. Now the team’s clear backup with an $8 million base salary in 2023, there’s a real argument to cutting him, saving a lot of money, and finding a cheaper veteran backup. But in January, Team President Art Rooney II splashed cold water on the idea, telling KDKA’s Bob Pompeani he expects Trubisky to be with the team next year.
In his latest Asked and Answered, Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola is taking those words to heart. Asked about the Steelers’ offseason quarterback room, he included Trubisky as part of the group traveling to St. Vincent College this summer.
“I have maintained this position for some time, and I will repeat it here: I believe the top of the depth chart at quarterback in 2023 will contain Kenny Pickett as the starter and Mitch Trubisky as the No. 2.”
Of course, what Rooney says carries the most amount of weight and Labriola isn’t “reporting” here. He’s offering his opinion. But when the team’s leading writer and the owner are saying the same thing, it’s a good bet it’s going to happen. Meaning, the odds of Trubisky remaining a Steeler should be considered high even if outside media are questioning if it’ll really happen.
Dumping Trubisky would save substantial money. But it would also gut the rest of the quarterback room. Mason Rudolph is already thinking about his next team so cutting Trubisky would literally leave the team with Kenny Pickett as the only quarterback on its roster. It’d be a similar situation to a year ago when for a time, Rudolph was the only quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement and Dwayne Haskins’ tragic death. Pittsburgh probably doesn’t want to have to rebuild its quarterback room for the second-straight year and they place serious value on having an experienced, veteran backup like Trubisky. If he had to sub in for Pickett next year, he’d already know and has run the Matt Canada-based offense. There wouldn’t be a feeling out period there would be with a separate veteran signing. They may be willing to pay $8 million for the benefit.
Generally, Mike Tomlin doesn’t prefer comfort but he likes having it at quarterback. It’s the word he used to explain why the team drafted Pickett and having a known, veteran guy at #2 creates familiarity and confidence.
Still, it’s obvious Trubisky isn’t happy in Pittsburgh and would prefer to be cut loose for a different opportunity. Even though the odds of him competing for a starting job anywhere else are low, he wasn’t happy to be benched so early into last season for reasons that weren’t entirely his fault. He had no running game and if WR Diontae Johnson had caught that touchdown against the New York Jets, Trubisky probably stays in the game.
Based on what the team and their de facto spokesmen are saying, the signs point to Trubisky being a Steeler next season. Assuming that’s the case, the team will need to bring in two more quarterbacks to round out its offseason roster. Perhaps a very cheap journeyman backup, a Nick Mullens-type, along with an undrafted free agent after April’s draft.