Pittsburgh’s Offseason To-Do List Includes Filling Its Two Final QB Spots

With a busy free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers have plugged plenty of holes in their roster. Signings like ILB Elandon Roberts, SS Keanu Neal, NT Breiden Fehoko and DL Armon Watts give them players not viewed as long-term options but offer veteran presence throughout 2023.

If there’s one box Omar Khan hasn’t checked yet, it’s his quarterback room. Of course, there are no questions about the top: Kenny Pickett as the #1, Mitch Trubisky as the #2. That’s not changing the rest of the summer. But Pittsburgh doesn’t just carry two quarterbacks in Latrobe. They always carry four and in the Kevin Colbert era, roster three of them on the 53-man roster.

So we know #1 and #2? But who is #3 and #4? Pittsburgh has a couple paths here.

1. Draft One

Not early. But late. A similar strategy as last season when the team drafted South Dakota State’s Chris Oladokun in the 7th round to be the team’s #4 QB. A strategy I certainly disagreed with for reasons that played out in the summer: he never got reps and hardly even had the chance to practice before being released and winning a Super Bowl in Kansas City in 2022. Pittsburgh drafted a quarterback given its old-school approach to the undrafted game, not offering partial base salary guarantees like most teams. That means it won’t be able to acquire top UDFAs, especially quarterbacks.

If that model hasn’t changed under Khan and Andy Weidl, Pittsburgh could again go this route to at least nab their #3, someone they’d expect carry on their roster throughout the year. Trubisky will probably be playing football elsewhere in 2024 and Pittsburgh will have to think about who Pickett’s eventual backup will be. Now, it still probably wouldn’t be a second-year former seventh-round pick – it’ll again probably be a veteran – but this team will want some internal options ahead of next offseason.

Pittsburgh’s shown some level of interest in the position this draft, reportedly scheduling a pre-draft visit with Houston’s Clayton Tune. He’s a name to consider on Day Three, though he may not fall into the seventh round, but if Pittsburgh makes a trade along the way to get into the fifth round, he’ll be an option. Other names to consider include UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and TCU’s Max Duggan.

2. Sign Two As Undrafted Free Agents/Tryouts

An even less sexy route than a draft pick. If Pittsburgh’s model approaching UDFAs has changed (and it needs to), then its odds of signing one after the draft becomes more likely. The Steelers would serve as a good opportunity for a rookie to come in and compete for a job, knowing there’s only two arms on the roster.

There’s no way Pittsburgh would add two quarterbacks through the draft; that’d be silly, so they’re likely to at least bring in an arm. It’s something they used to do on an annual basis. Bart Houston and Brendon Kay are (relatively) recent examples. Tryouts to rookie minicamp are more of a longshot to stick, though with Pickett and Trubisky ineligible, they’ll probably bring someone in, and it worked with Duck Hodges. For a second, anyway.

Undrafted options include names like Duggan if he tumbles out of the draft. Incarnate Word’s Lindsey Scott is another solid bet to be a popular UDFA while Gannon’s Kory Curtis is a tryout possibility.


Though they’re not officially set up this way, the XFL and USFL are semi-feeder leagues to the NFL and several of those players came over last year to play in the NFL. Names like Ben DiNucci and A.J. McCarron make sense as guys with a bit of NFL experience already staying sharp and putting on tape throughout the spring.

The only downside, potentially, is time, especially for the USFL. Playing in those leagues potentially means being unavailable for spring work, OTAs and minicamp, valuable time missed for a QB who has to learn the system. It’s an issue for all positions but most critical for signal callers. It’s why the XFL, whose regular season ends April 23rd and playoffs that will wrap up by early May, is more attractive than the USFL, whose season isn’t even underway. I can definitely see an XFL’er getting added to Pittsburgh’s roster shortly after the draft.

4. In Free Agency

Of course, there’s still free agency. It’s always free agency. And in past years, Pittsburgh has quietly added a journeyman fourth arm. Often through Futures contracts, that didn’t happen this year, but names like Brynn Renner, John Parker Wilson, and Jerrod Johnson were names without Sunday experience but had been in the league for a little bit who found their way onto the Steelers’ roster for a few months. Or maybe the team could get a little bigger name than that, a Sean Mannion/Brandon Allen type willing to be a #3. That’d be preferable.

Ideally, adding a veteran with some experience, through free agency or the XFL, coupled with an undrafted free agent is the best pairing. The veteran is the #3 while the rookie sits as the #4 and with a more settled QB room this year, could actually see a handful of reps in practice. But it’s about the one position that team hasn’t addressed that will need to be addressed, somehow, someway. We’ll see how Khan attacks things during and after the draft.

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