Steelers Acquisition of Ex-Bears, Bills QB Mitch Trubisky Draws Mixed Twitter Reactions

Getty Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempts to keep his balance.

Second chances don’t come along often in the NFL. But Mitch Trubisky is one of the lucky few.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are granting Trubisky an opportunity to dig out of the “bust” hole and reset his career. Shortly after the March 14 news that the Steelers had agreed to terms with the quarterback, Trubisky took to Twitter to share his excitement via ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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The Trubisky news drew mixed reactions from the NFL world.

One NFL fan believes Trubisky is a bench-warmer for life:

Angry_Rico is angry about the acquisition of Trubisky.

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A fan in Mexico had tweeted this about the Trubisky news: “Everyone makes the ugly choice @Mtrubisky10 by @Steelers, but they forget that in this sport the underdogs only need a real chance to show what they are made of. They learned nothing from the last Super Bowl. Two words: Matthew Stafford.”

While the message is true, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl win put him in the Hall of Fame conversation. It would take a miracle for Trubisky to reach that status.

A fan in Chicago of all places has hope for the ex-Bears quarterback: “As a run first team, Mitch should do just fine for Pittsburgh. Hope he rejuvenates his career.”

One fan, a self-described “professional sports s–t talker,” has an interesting take. I think Eagles fans would disagree.

To Be or Not To Be?

Even after the signing becomes official, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback situation remains muddled — it’s unknown whether Trubisky, 27, will be the starting QB come September. There are several reports that he is the “expected starter,” but it’s pure speculation. While the role is likely Trubisky’s to lose, it’ll be several months before a starter is named.

By the numbers, Trubisky’s contract is backup money. The two-year/$14.25 million contract, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, is worth up to $27 million with incentives, which kick in if he’s named the starter.

It breaks down to just over $7 million per year and ranks Trubisky the 31st among quarterback contracts, according to Spotrac. Trubisky’s contract is in the mix with backups Case Keenum (Cleveland Browns), Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers), free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, and rookie contracts for Patriots’ Mac Jones and Ravens’ Lamar Jackson.

It’s not a forgone conclusion that Trubisky will be the starter. While Mason Rudolph didn’t seize the opportunity to supplant the retired Ben Roethlisberger, he has earned the right to compete for the starting role. My thought is that it’ll be a true quarterback competition in training camp, which will bring out the best in Trubisky, Rudolph, Haskins, and whoever ends up the fourth arm in the room.

Trubisky Versus Rudolph

TribLive Steelers columnist Tim Benz compiled an apples-to-apples comparison of Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph and it’s closer than fans might think.

Benz wrote:

Let’s be honest, the news of Trubisky’s signing was met with wild applause in Pittsburgh on Monday for one reason. Most Steelers fans have no faith that incumbent quarterback Mason Rudolph can capably replace Roethlisberger, and Trubisky isn’t Rudolph.

Well, except that in a lot of ways, he actually is.

  • Trubisky’s career completion percentage is 64.1. Rudolph’s is 61.5.
  • Rudolph averages 6.2 yards per attempt. Trubisky averages 6.7.
  • Trubisky was 6-3 for the Bears in his last year as a starter. Rudolph was 5-3 for the Steelers in 2019.

Looking at the numbers, the former second-overall draft pick is slightly better than Rudolph but by no means good enough to immediately be crowned the starter.

Trubisky appeared in limited packages of six regular-season games with the Bills last season. According to Pro Football Reference, no stats were recorded in two of those games. Trubisky completed six of eight passes for 43 yards, no touchdowns, one pick, and two first downs in the remaining four. He also ran the ball 13 times for 24 yards and one touchdown.

Another interesting number is the “average time to throw” stat provided by NFL Next Gen Stats. Ben Roethlisberger’s release time was the quickest in the league in 2021 at 2.38 seconds. Trubisky’s time to throw in 2020 was tied with the Saints’ Drew Brees at 2.66 seconds.
Though his mobility will be a most valuable asset to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Trubisky will want to improve on this number during the offseason. It doesn’t appear that the Steelers are making any splash moves to vastly improve their 26th-ranked offensive line.