Bruce Gradkowski: Mitch Trubisky’s Athleticism Reason Enough To Keep Him As Backup After Mason Rudolph’s Return

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current St. Louis Battlehawks offensive coordinator Bruce Gradkowski appeared on 93.7 The  Fan’s PM Show on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Steelers signing XFL wide receiver Hakeem Butler, who starred for the Battlehawks this season.

Later in the interview, he was asked about the possibility of trading backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky with Mason Rudolph now back in the fold. While Gradkowski acknowledged it’s a possibility, he thinks Trubisky is a good fit with the Steelers due to his athleticism.

“Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, you know that relationship there, if it’s pretty strong, I don’t think I wanna break that up,” Gradkowski told PM Show co-hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller. “But in the same sense, with Mason Rudolph and his experience, absolutely he could be your backup if you got a good offer for Trubisky. But I really like that athleticism that Trubisky brings. And I think the league nowadays, you need that. And if something happened to Kenny Pickett, cause he is a tough football player and he’s gonna run for first downs, he’s going to take some shots, I’d want an athletic guy behind him. So that’s why I think it fits good with Trubisky being there.”

I don’t know what sort of offer would move the needle enough for the Steelers to trade Trubisky, and I really don’t see it happening. Steelers general manager Omar Khan has been adamant that the team likes having Trubisky as a backup now and even beyond this year. While his athleticism is a factor it’s more so just having a quality veteran who’s started games in the league to be available if something happens to Pickett. Pickett’s obviously not immune to injuries — suffered two concussions last season — so having someone who can step in and keep the offense relatively the same is important.

While Trubisky struggled off the bench against the Ravens, he was key in leading the team to a win over the Buccaneers when Pickett exited early in the second half. He’s a solid backup quarterback, and that’s more and more important in today’s NFL. Pittsburgh clearly wasn’t comfortable with the options behind him, hence why it brought Rudolph back. If something happens to Pickett, then the Steelers would be one snap away from playing Rudolph, which, while it beats the alternative of being one snap away from playing Tanner Morgan, still isn’t the best scenario.

Having Trubisky around as the backup just makes sense. The team freed up cap space by releasing Ahkello Witherspoon Wednesday, and there are other ways they can create cap room without needing to cut Trubsiky if they really need it. There’s more downside than benefit at this point to move on from Trubisky. He seemed to handle his backup role well and be a good mentor to Pickett, so keep that relationship moving forward and let things play out. It really is a bunch of nonsense to assume the team will look to move on from Trubisky just because Rudolph, who hasn’t played meaningful snaps since the team’s 2021 tie against the Lions, is back.

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