Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Kenny Pickett spoke at the end of the season on numerous occasions about plans to gather offensive players together during the offseason to work out together and establish a stronger rapport. As Mitch Trubisky did last offseason after he signed as an unrestricted free agent, that group gathered included fellow quarterbacks.
Trubisky in other words, as you might have imagined, was present down in Florida along with Pickett based on videos posted by teammates. There was no evidence of pending free agent Mason Rudolph in attendance. Wide receivers Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Steven Sims, Calvin Austin III, Cody White, and Gunner Olszewski were also known to be or evidently there, as was tight end Connor Heyward; likely others were present as well.
Trubisky has been the subject of a great deal of idle chatter and debate this offseason. Signed as a potential bridge starter at the beginning of last offseason, he only made it four games into the season as a starter before head coach Mike Tomlin pulled him in favor of Pickett.
Nobody would be happy about that, and it’s very evident and obvious that he not only believes he is capable of starting but also wants to start. But that’s how most backups feel. Still, many have painted a portrait of Trubisky as a malcontent who would rather not sit behind an established starter ahead of him.
Yet this latest event appears to show Trubisky as more of a volunteer than a hostage, to use Tomlin’s verbiage. If he were a player who intended to ask for his release, he might shy away from entirely voluntary, non-team-sanctioned workouts in March several states away.
After all, he could get hurt, right? Of course, some would argue that rather he is showing teams that he can be a sport and play the good soldier, that he is a good teammate, so that they would be willing to trade for him.
At the moment, there has been zero indication that the Steelers have any intention of exploring trade possibilities for Trubisky. Nor has there been any hint that they would approach him about taking a pay cut to reduce the $8 million base salary he is due in 2023, now that he is entrenched into a backup role in Pittsburgh.
Yes, Trubisky wants to start. Yes, he openly acknowledged that he had some regret in hindsight about not exploring all of his options in depth. No, he did not ever say nor directly imply that he regretted signing with the Steelers. Nor has he done anything to indicate in any way that he has been less than a good teammate throughout the process.
After all, as Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke said this offseason, “if that opportunity [to be a starter] doesn’t come up, being a backup in the NFL is probably one of the best jobs in America”.