Free Agent QB Josh Dobbs Gets Tryout with Steelers’ Hated Rival

Josh Dobbs Steelers

Justin Berl/Getty Images Joshua Dobbs of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field on August 9, 2019.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have three quarterbacks under contract for 2022—Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins—meaning just one spot remains open for this summer’s quarterback competition. Ultimately, former Steelers fourth-round pick Josh Dobbs may return and serve as the team’s fourth-stringer, if he remains available. But for now, it seems the Steelers are holding that spot open—perhaps for a rookie undrafted free agent, or even a rookie draft pick.

In the meantime, Dobbs, 27, is looking for a new team. And on Monday he had a workout with the New England Patriots, this according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

If Dobbs ends up signing with the Patriots, he would presumably be fourth in the pecking order there too. Former first-round pick Mac Jones is the starter, Brian Hoyer just signed a two-year contract to be his backup, and Jarrett Stidham remains in the fold as well.

The Steelers Traded Dobbs to the Jaguars in 2019, Got Him Back in 2020

But Dobbs—6-foot-3 and 216 pounds—has managed to earn NFL paychecks ever since he was drafted No. 135 overall in 2017 out of Tennessee. This despite the fact that he has appeared in only six games and thrown just 17 passes in the past five years.

For a brief point in time (in 2018), he served as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Then in 2019, the Steelers traded him to the Jaguars for a fifth-round pick after the organization decided that Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges could serve as the team’s third-string quarterback.

Yet Pittsburgh got him back a year later, re-signing him in September 2020 after he was released by the Jaguars five days earlier. Dobbs spent all of the 2021 season on injured reserve after suffering what was described as a turf toe-type injury in the team’s preseason finale against Carolina, having come on in relief of starter Dwayne Haskins.

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Who Will Be Pittsburgh’s 4th Quarterback?

There are a number of different ways the Steelers could find a fourth quarterback later this spring. One option is to sign a rookie undrafted free agent immediately after the 2022 draft comes to an end.

Another option is to sign a QB who comes to minicamp on a tryout basis, as they did in 2019, when Samford University quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges parlayed a rookie minicamp invite into a place on Pittsburgh’s 90-man roster. (Hodges went on to start eight games for the team that season.)

A third possibility is that Pittsburgh selects a quarterback in the draft, which some NFL analysts have urged the Steelers to do, despite the recent addition of Mitch Trubisky. Liberty’s Malik Willis and North Carolina’s Sam Howell are two of the names who have been linked to the Steelers in recent months. If the Steelers do use a premium draft pick on a quarterback, the organization would probably try to trade Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins prior to the start of the regular season.

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