The Pittsburgh Steelers might have to move on from a former highly-touted starter.
According to Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey, the Steelers should embrace a full “rebuild” during the 2023 offseason. Pittsburgh is currently 3-7 and locked into last place in the AFC North division. It’s a far decline from the success that the franchise is accustomed to and a clear slip from their playoff appearance last season.
Tansey names several veterans the Steelers should cut during the 2023 offseason with one of the big names being Mitch Trubisky. The veteran quarterback entered the 2022 season as the team’s starting quarterback before he was replaced by rookie Kenny Pickett after just four games.
The Bleacher Report analyst attributes Trubisky’s large salary for a backup — he was initially paid to be a starter — as a reason for why Pittsburgh should move on from the 28-year-old quarterback.
“It is hard to justify paying a backup quarterback $8 million,” said Tansey. “Mitch Trubisky is scheduled to make that much as his base salary for the 2023 season.”
Steelers Better off Going With Rudolph Over Trubisky
Trubisky is due to earn $8 million in base salary next season and will hold a $10.6 million cap hit for the 2023 season. His cap hit actually ranks 19th among all quarterbacks for next season.
Tansey suggests the Steelers move on from Trubisky and go with Mason Rudolph as a much cheaper alternative at backup quarterback to Pickett. Rudolph will be a free agent this offseason, but his cap hit is just $4 million this season and it was $2 million last season.
“The Steelers did not move Rudolph this past offseason when the situation opened up for the former starter to be moved,” says Tansey. “Pittsburgh may be better off re-signing Rudolph on a smaller deal to be Pickett’s backup instead of paying Trubisky more money to stand on the sidelines.”
Rudolph was previously mentioned in trade rumors at the beginning of the season once it was established he was the team’s No. 3 quarterback. However, the Steelers refused to trade their longtime quarterback.
As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported back in August, Rudolph had a trade market that was heating up.
“My understanding is there is some interest around the league in a potential trade of Mason Rudolph,” Rapoport reported on NFL Network. “It sounds like the Pittsburgh Steelers would listen at the right pirce. We’ll see come Tuesday if they’re able to do a deal for Rudolph.”
Expect Steelers to Move Trubisky in Offseason
While Rudolph may have certainly had a market at one point in time, it probably wasn’t substantial enough to warrant a trade for Pittsburgh. When it comes to Trubisky, however, the Steelers would likely find a suitor willing to give up worthy draft capital for the former No. 2 overall pick.
For as much flack as Trubisky was given during his tenure as the Chicago Bears starter, he is a former Pro Bowl quarterback who has two playoff appearances to his name. The veteran quarterback also has 54 career starts and 62 appearances to his name. His experience is a big selling point for a rebuilding team looking for a bridge quarterback or a contending team looking for a worthy backup.
With the Steelers looking at their first losing season of the Mike Tomlin era, Pittsburgh is unlikely to pay Trubisky starting quarterback money next season. Expect Pittsburgh to find a way to move on from Trubisky in 2023, whether that’s via trade or release.