According to multiple reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reached an agreement on a two-year contract with free-agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The former Chicago Bear joins a Steelers franchise that was searching for a new starting signal-caller for the first time in nearly two decades in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.
Trubisky will now receive every opportunity to earn that right while fending off a challenge in training camp and throughout the pre-season from long-term backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, who previously signed a one-year contract extension through 2022.
It qualifies as an extremely risky and bold signing for a franchise that lacked high-level quarterback play in 2021. Roethlisberger’s performances throughout the course of the season kept Pittsburgh from truly serving as legitimate contenders in the AFC, as they were quickly eliminated from the postseason at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a 42-21 wild-card weekend blowout. Playing in a conference that now houses Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Joe Burrow means that reaching the Super Bowl will be virtually impossible without receiving elite quarterback play. Whether or not Trubisky is ready to elevate his game to that level remains to be seen, but it would qualify as a shocking surprise if he were to make strides quite that large. There’s reason to believe Trubisky is a strong fit for Pittsburgh’s offense, but even the most glass-half-full Steelers fans probably carry skepticism over this signing.
The former No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky failed to live up to that billing throughout a disappointing four-year tenure with the Bears. The regime that drafted Trubisky ultimately declined his fifth-year contract option, and the ex-North Carolina Tar Heel joined the Buffalo Bills in 2021 as Allen’s backup.
Trubisky earned rave reviews from an impressive coaching staff that included at-the-time offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, who has now replaced the New York Giants-bound-Daboll as the Buffalo’s offensive coordinator. The same staff that helped develop Allen into one of the most feared dual-threat quarterbacks in the league has reportedly worked their magic with Trubisky, who was always expected to receive a plethora of interest on the free-agent market. Those expectations quickly came to fruition, as it took Trubisky less than one hour into the legal tampering window to find a new home in Pittsburgh as the perceived starter.
The Steelers were largely expected to make a move at the quarterback position this offseason, and they’ve now identified their man in Trubisky. Pittsburgh owns the 20th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and has been connected to Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Liberty’s Malik Willis throughout the pre-draft process. Acquiring 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was another option that was allegedly on the table, but general manager Kevin Colbert has decided to take a chance on an intriguing reclamation project in Trubisky instead. Pittsburgh is unlikely to make another notable move at the quarterback position with both Trubisky and Rudolph in the fold.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada remains in place despite Pittsburgh’s offensive struggles all throughout the 2021 campaign. Canada quickly received a vote of confidence from head coach Mike Tomlin and now gets his hands on a quarterback that is better suited to run his forward-thinking offense. The aging Roethlisberger was a poor fit for an offense that placed emphasis on pre-snap motion and window dressing. The much younger and more athletic Trubisky should allow Canada to further expand and open up his playbook while becoming more comfortable with the offensive identity he envisions. Placing Trubisky in a backfield that already possesses superstar-in-the-making running back Najee Harris should place stress on opposing defenses via the run-pass-option game.
Steelers faithful now hope that a change of scenery and new expectations, paired with the stability of Pittsburgh’s ownership group and coaching staff could help Trubisky take his game to the next level.
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