Steelers’ Mike Tomlin ‘on Board’ With Plan for QB Mitch Trubisky

Steelers QBs Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett

Rob Carr/Getty Images Mitch Trubisky #10 and Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warm up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 1, 2023.

Earlier this year, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II indicated that he expected quarterback Mitch Trubisky to be back with the team in 2023, a sentiment later echoed by general manager Omar Khan. Now we have confirmation that head coach Mike Tomlin is — as Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review puts it — “on board” with Trubisky as the backup for 2023.

“Like Omar Khan at the NFL Combine, Mike Tomlin also says he expects Mitch Trubisky back for the 2023 season,” explains Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

Mitch Trubisky Carries Pittsburgh’s 6th-Highest Cap Hit for 2023

It’s something of a surprise that the Steelers are planning to retain Trubisky for another year, as he is scheduled to earn a salary of $8 million in 2023, making him extraordinarily expensive for a backup quarterback. In fact, with a cap hit of $10.625 million in 2023 (as per, he’s the 6th most expensive player on the team, behind T.J. Watt ($29,368,694), Cameron Heyward ($22,256,250), Diontae Johnson ($16,333,333), Chukwuma Okorafor ($13,083,333) and James Daniels ($11,166,666).

If the Steelers choose to release Trubisky, they would save $8 million and incur a relatively modest $2.625 million cap charge, according to

Not only that, Steelers insider Mark Kaboly has noted that Trubisky “seemed miserable” last season while serving as Kenny Pickett’s backup, going so far as to describe him as a “hostage” who might try to force his way out of town. Trubisky indicated that he regrets how he handled free agency last year and wishes he “would’ve taken some more time and not just signed the first day of free agency.” Recall that he opened last season as the starting quarterback, but lost his job to Pickett — the team’s rookie 1st-round pick — three-and-a-half games into the regular season.

That said, Trubisky may have come to the realization that he can’t possibly find a better opportunity for 2023, and that his best bet is to collect $8 million and then return to the free agent pool in 2024. Notably, he will be earning $6,655,550 more than Pickett, who has a guaranteed salary of $1,344,450 for 2023.

There’s also the chance that Pittsburgh could try to extend Trubisky’s contract, a possibility that Khan alluded to during the NFL Combine. A contract extension would no doubt reduce Trubisky’s 2023 cap hit; it would also signal that the former No. 2 overall pick is resigned to being a career backup.

The Steelers Need to Find a 3rd (and 4th) Quarterback

Meanwhile, the Steelers still need to find a 3rd quarterback for 2023, as well as a 4th arm for training camp. Concerning the 3rd QB,” Tomlin says he doesn’t know the plan at this point, but they’ll sort it out,” advises Pryor in her above-referenced tweet.

For better or worse, former Steelers 4th-round pick Josh Dobbs is no longer an option. On March 20, 2023, Dobbs signed a fully-guaranteed one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, his résumé bolstered by the two starts he made for the Tennessee Titans at the end of last season.

Former Steelers 3rd-round pick Mason Rudolph is an unrestricted free agent and remains unsigned. Even if the Steelers were interested in bringing him back for a 6th season with the team, he would no doubt prefer to have a fresh start elsewhere. On the other hand, Rudolph hasn’t totally “closed the door” on returning to Pittsburgh.

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