If Pittsburgh Steelers fans are on the search for a disgruntled backup quarterback who feels so jilted that he wants to force his way off the team, then they ought not hold their breath in waiting to find him. From all accounts, it seems as though Mitch Trubisky has consistently played the good teammate, including during his time down in Florida working out with the man who took his job.
2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett took over the starting job in week four last season, and Trubisky played little after that. He had hoped to revitalize his starting career by signing with Pittsburgh, but couldn’t have known that they would be able to land their quarterback of choice in the first round.
While many have balked at the $8 million he is owed for a role we now know can be no more than that of backup, it would have been a bargain had things gone another direction and he were starting. Those are the gambles you make when you sign a deal, on both sides. But you make the best of it.
And that’s what Trubisky’s doing. Indeed, Pickett’s trainer, Tony Racioppi, spoke very highly of him in conversation with Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently, both of what he had seen himself and what his longtime pupil told him.
“He was fantastic”, the quarterback trainer said. “It speaks to Mitch and the person that he is, the high-character guy that he is. It was kind of neat seeing them work together, talk about things, talk about concepts from this year, certain plays in games, installs, just kind of talking ball back and forth”.
He also shared that Pickett mentioned to him the many times Trubisky helped him during his rookie season, in various ways, whether it was regarding what to do in situational football, general observations from the sideline, or simple sharing his life and career experiences, good and bad. “There’s no egos”, he said. “Just trying to get better”.
Himself a former second-overall draft pick, Trubisky had a spotty record during his four-year career with the Chicago Bears. They did not pick up his fifth-year option, and as a result he spent a season in 2021 serving as a backup for the Buffalo Bills.
He was hoping to rebound as a free agent, and felt signing with the Steelers might give him the best chance to do that with Ben Roethlisberger retiring, agreeing to a two-year, $16 million deal that included another $4 million per season in incentives.
He had his chance to start, but his struggles were his own undoing, even if it became only a matter of time once the Steelers drafted Pickett. The way he was going, however, he could have just as easily been benched for Mason Rudolph, even if his later play following his demotion was of a higher level.
By all indications, at this point, both Trubisky and the Steelers are content with their current arrangement of having him serve as their backup quarterback at $8 million. I see no reason to expect that will change, barring a dummy deal that lowers his 2023 cap hit but not his compensation. In the meantime, he is being the good teammate and providing valuable support to the future of the franchise.