The Mitch Trubisky experiment was, by all accounts, a failure. In an ideal world, the Pittsburgh Steelers signing Trubisky signaled a solid stop-gap option until rookie Kenny Pickett was ready to roll in 2023 or 2024. That hope was dashed 3.5 weeks in when he was benched midway through the Week 4 New York Jets game.
As insignificant as it might seem, the Steelers need to address the backup quarterback position this offseason, and doing so with a veteran would aid in Pickett’s progression. Mason Rudolph is all but guaranteed to leave via free agency. And though Trubisky still has one year remaining on his contract, he could be a cap casualty.
He’s set to earn $10.625 million but can save the team $8 million if released. Pittsburgh is currently $3,559,887 million over the $224.5 million salary cap. General manager Omar Khan needs to do some financial juggling to get the Steelers cap compliant by the new NFL league year on March 15, 2023.
Of the 38 impending free-agent quarterbacks, Case Keenum grabbed the attention of FanSided’s Still Curtain.
With Trubisky and Rudolph out of the picture, Pittsburgh must get the backup right, and Keenum could be that guy. In 2022, Pickett suffered two concussions in 10 games. While no one wishes further damage to the second-year signal caller, injury is inevitable in this violent sport.
Keenum’s latest venture was the Buffalo Bills, where, ironically, he was brought in to replace Trubisky. His last start behind center was with the Cleveland Browns, where he enjoyed a 2-0 record. The laundry list of teams for the undrafted QB includes the Minnesota Vikings, where he saw a glimmer of success.
Keenum holds a record of 29-35 in 64 starts as a career journeyman. Per Pro Football Reference, he’s thrown for 14,884 yards with a 78 to 48 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The attraction is Keenum could be signed at a fraction of the cost of keeping Trubisky. He could be acquired cheaper than his $3.5 million base salary in Buffalo.
Steelers QB Smokescreen in Effect
One of the hot-button issues of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 offseason is what they’ll do with backup Mitch Trubisky.
Steelers owner and president Art Rooney II discussed the topic during his annual State of the Steelers address on January 26.
“I expect Mitch [Trubisky] will be on the roster next year and be an effective backup if we need him,” Rooney told KDKA’s Bob Pompeani. “I think he showed that he can be that. We can win with him.”
But is the potential of winning with him (especially when he might never see the field) enough to keep him on the payroll?
Trubisky has been a mixed bag for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In five starts, he went 2-3 and stepped in for Kenny Pickett on two occasions. The team was teetering on a five-game losing streak when Trubisky saved the day versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. On what would ultimately be a game-winning drive, he connected with then-Steelers receiver Chase Claypool. He couldn’t repeat that success in Week 14, throwing three picks in the narrow 16-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but led the Steelers to victory over the 5-8 Carolina Panthers.
If Rooney is bluffing and Trubisky is on his way out of Pittsburgh, he’ll be headed for his fourth team in as many years — quite a fall from grace that was the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.