Another one of the Chicago Bears’ former starting quarterbacks has scored a nice payday with his new team.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed a two-year extension with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky that will keep him under contract through the 2025 season and pay him as much as $33 million over the next three years.
Trubisky — who the Bears selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft — originally signed with the Steelers on a two-year, $14 million contract during the 2022 offseason after spending his first post-Chicago season as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo. The Steelers could have opted to release him for up to $8 million in salary-cap savings this offseason but instead will somewhat unexpectedly keep him in place, at a good price, as a veteran backup behind second-year starter Kenny Pickett in 2023.
Trubisky started 52 games during his four seasons with the Bears and led them to the playoffs twice as their starting quarterback, losing both times in the wild-card round. While he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2018 after completing 66.6% of his passes for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, the Bears never got consistently strong play out of him and eventually declined to pick up his 2021 fifth-year option.
Andy Dalton Also Earned Premium Backup Contract
Trubisky is the second of Chicago’s former starting quarterbacks to sign a new contract over the past few months. Andy Dalton, the veteran who served as the 2021 opening-day starter during Justin Fields’ rookie year, also signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Carolina Panthers in March and will expectedly fill a similar role for them.
Dalton was a one-year bridge quarterback for the Bears who started six of the eight games he played in 2021 while the team prepared Fields to take the reins. While the entire season devolved into a mess that ended with the dismissal of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, Dalton played the role of mentor well enough that Fields is still appreciative of what he learned from him in their one year together.
“Andy’s amazing,” Fields said, via Barstool Sports’ ‘Pardon My Take’ podcast. “I mean, even [in 2022] he was texting me after good games that I had and said, ‘I saw your game. Great job bro.’ Just his family, his wife, his kids. They’re amazing. Andy and Nick [Foles] they taught me a lot last year just with the life of being an NFL quarterback and he kind of took me under his wing. I’m definitely very appreciative of that and I wish Andy nothing but the best of luck.”
Now, Dalton will get the chance to do it all over again in Carolina with No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. The Panthers have not yet declared which quarterback will start for them in Week 1, but it is possible that Dalton could get the nod if the Panthers take a similar approach with their new franchise quarterback as the Bears did with Fields as a rookie.
What Does Bears’ QB Situation Look Like for 2023?
The Bears don’t have any reason to worry about ghosts of quarterbacks past heading into the 2023 season. Fields is now ready to embark on his second season as a full-time starter and could be in line for a breakout with all the upgrades the Bears have made to their offense over the past several months. They traded for star wide receiver D.J. Moore, drafted right tackle Darnell Wright with their first-round pick and signed a bevy of offensive free agents, including guard Nate Davis and tight end Robert Tonyan Jr.
The Bears have also taken measures to improve their quarterback room behind Fields. They ditched 2022 backup Trevor Siemian and signed former Panthers spot starter P.J. Walker to a two-year contract. They also added undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent to the room to compete with veteran Nathan Peterman for the No. 3 quarterback role.
While the Bears have not explicitly laid out their plans for the 2023 preseason, there is a good chance their exhibition games won’t feature much of Fields. He didn’t play more than a quarter in the 2022 preseason slate, and with his health more important than ever to the future of the Bears, it seems likely they will play it safe with him until the first week of the regular season. Fortunately, that gives them time to verify that Walker can be a serviceable backup for them and see who between Bagent and Peterman is most deserving of a spot on their practice squad.