Steelers Urged to ‘100 Percent’ Sign Eagles QB in Free Agency

Getty Mike Tomlin stands on the sideline.

A dilemma that faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2022 NFL offseason will likely rear its ugly head again in 2023. Only it’s not as franchise-altering of a decision as who will replace Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers have 22 players in the 2023 free-agent class, one of which is veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph. Pittsburgh hopes to re-sign the impact players they can afford, but Rudolph isn’t one of them. Nor would he want to be. Having gone from being drafted to potentially replace Roethlisberger to No. 3 on the depth chart, Rudolph wants a fresh start. As Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac wrote, Rudolph “will definitely not be back.”

Mitch Trubisky, signed to a two-year contract in 2022, might be a cap casualty. In either case, the Steelers will need to add depth behind second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Given Pickett’s inexperience, a veteran with a history as a starter would be the most logical direction. There won’t be a shortage of available signal callers once free agency opens on March 15, 2023. Of the 38 free-agent quarterbacks — some of whom will re-sign with their current teams — The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly likes Philadephia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew.

Minshew’s been linked to Pittsburgh in the past, and this offseason will be no different.

“Gardner Minshew … 100 percent,” Kaboly wrote when asked who would be his ideal backup for Pickett.

Price Tag for Eagles QB Gardner Minshew in NFL Free Agency

Let’s pretend the Pittsburgh Steelers want to ink presumed free agent Gardner Minshew this spring (if the Eagles don’t re-sign him). They could get him for the low, low price of the veteran minimum.

Per Spotrac, the CBA-negotiated veteran minimum salaries are based on years of service. Minshew, in the league for four years, would cost $1.080 million. It’s a far more team-friendly deal than the cap hit of $10.625 million (good for 10th-highest paid on the roster) Mitch Trubisky would cost, even if the Steelers pay above vet minimum.

Cutting Trubisky and signing Minshew could save Pittsburgh in the neighborhood of $5 million depending on Minshew’s bonus breakdown.

Though Minshew is a serviceable backup and has been since being traded to the Eagles in August 2021, he’s a backup for a reason. Selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft, Minshew started 20 games over two seasons for a record of 7-13.

Minshew started four games for the Eagles with a quarterback record of 1-3. He relieved MVP finalist Jalen Hurts for two games in 2022 who was out with a shoulder injury and couldn’t pull off a win, even with a potential Super Bowl roster around him.

No matter who the Steelers bring in to back up Kenny Pickett, we can only hope they don’t have to use him.

Mason Rudolph: The QB Steelers Fans Love to Hate

Mason Rudolph, the quarterback Steelers fans love to hate, was taken three rounds higher in the same 2018 NFL draft class as the aforementioned Gardner Minshew. In what was not one of former general manager Kevin Colbert‘s finest moments, Pittsburgh moved up a few spots in the third round to select him No. 76 overall.

Keeping Rudolph (and cutting Mitch Trubisky) makes far more sense than signing someone on the outside. He’s 5-4-1 as a starter, knows the system, and is a capable backup. But given Rudolph’s rocky history with the Steelers, you can’t blame him if he wants to start over.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x