We started this series with a little over two weeks before the draft, knowing that nearly all of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pertinent personnel decisions will have already been made by then. Over the course of the series, we will be reviewing the team’s roster turnover position by position in an effort to help us project what their plans will be for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Steelers had a number of notable starters hit free agency this year, and their retention success rate was mixed, re-signing Larry Ogunjobi but losing Cameron Sutton, for example. Largely, however, what they lost they replaced, adding Patrick Peterson in Sutton’s stead.
They also had another active year in outside free agency beyond replacing missing pieces, or voluntary departures, such as Myles Jack. The most notable move was Isaac Seumalo being signed along the offensive line. While Terrell Edmunds is gone, Damontae Kazee was retained and Keanu Neal was added. Likewise, Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts come in and replace Devin Bush and Robert Spillane.
The team did not have to make drastic moves in order to get into cap compliance, but they did release two high-salaried players in linebacker Jack and William Jackson III, the latter of whom never dressed for them. As of now, they have restructured only one contract to create cap space, that being Minkah Fitzpatrick, though restructuring T.J. Watt later this offseason is very possible.
Total Positional Figure: 2
Offseason Additions: 0
Offseason Deletions: 1
Kenny Pickett: Their first-round draft pick a year ago, Kenny Pickett solidifies the quarterback position for the time being. Certainly, it means the Steelers won’t have to think about drafting one early this year. He had a solid rookie season, the most important aspect of which was his upward trajectory. For all his criticisms—and certainly many are valid—he did lead four game-winning drives, which says something about his makeup.
Mitch Trubisky: Signed last offseason as a potential bridge starter, Trubisky did lead the team to start the first four games. The Steelers yanked him at halftime in that fourth game, however, with mounting struggles on offense, including his own. He did play better overall coming on in relief later in the season, minus a trio of ill-advised throws against the Ravens that led to interceptions.
Players Added: N/A
Mason Rudolph: At least for now, he’s gone, but Mason Rudolph as of this writing remains unsigned, leaving open the possibility for his return. Many believe there is too much bad blood there for Rudolph to want to return, but he may have no other options. He stated last training camp that he was in the running for the starting job. In terms of rep distribution, he was right in the mix, but he was inactive for every game in which the other two quarterbacks were healthy.
Notes And Draft Outlook:
Well, the future is in Kenny Pickett’s hands, really. Is he the Steelers’ next Ben Roethlisberger, or at least some other variation of a successful franchise quarterback? As he has shown potential, we know for sure right the Steelers are unlikely to draft another quarterback in the first round for the next few years, so they won’t have to think about that much.
Trubisky’s $8 million price tag for the 2022 season led to much consternation about his status, both among fans and among reporters. But it seems as though both sides are content to continue their business relationship under the current terms.
The Steelers will have to add a third quarterback at some point, and they have expressed openness to all avenues, whether a veteran addition or a rookie. That rookie could potentially be a college free agent. They will have time later in the offseason to add somebody—maybe even Rudolph—if it comes to it, but rest assured, barring injuries, three arms will be their initial 53-man roster.