With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: QB Mitch Trubisky
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers have taken multiple opportunities this offseason to affirm their support and intention to carry Mitch Trubisky as their backup quarterback this season, giving no indication that his $8 million will be an issue. For his part, he has been an active participant in the offseason, joining Kenny Pickett in a player-organized workouts.
At least a month or two ago, there were few things as widely debated in Pittsburgh than whether Mitch Trubisky would or should be on the Steelers’ 53-man roster come September and at what price. That conversation has slowed to a trickle, if not died entirely, as most have come to accept the reality of the situation.
The Steelers signed Trubisky last offseason to a two-year, $16 million contract with up to $4 million per season in incentives, a deal that reflects the current situation. It was a middle-of-the-road contract that was indicative of the potential transitory nature of his status.
In other words, he would be underpaid if he ended up being the starter and working out well; conversely, he would be overpaid if he were to quickly become a backup. In neither direction would that be exploitatively so, however, and the incentives gave wiggle room as well.
Eight million dollars is a good deal for a backup quarterback, make no mistake. That will also keep Trubisky reasonably happy even if he would rather try to be somewhere else with a more realistic shot at starting.
The Steelers are a team that should know as well as most the value of having a good backup option, however. They’ve had more than enough seasons over the past two decades that have been affected by the performance of backups, either by keeping the season afloat or hurting their chances of advancing.
Trubisky, make no mistake, is a quality, high-level backup option, certainly better than most in the league. That’s why the Steelers have no problem paying him $8 million to sit behind Pickett this year, with the goal being that he only plays at the end of fourth quarters to mop up blowout victories.
By this point, I believe all of the relevant parties—owner Art Rooney II, head coach Mike Tomlin, and general manager Omar Khan—have gone on record stating that Trubisky will be the Steelers’ number two quarterback. His salary hasn’t even been talked about. That’s a conversation that’s lived and died through the media exclusively.