Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky could be a cap casualty this offseason, according to multiple reports. The Steelers are currently scheduled to possess roughly $330,000 in cap space, per Spotrac. It’s equivalent to essentially being over the cap given their need to re-sign their own players, 2023 draft class, and unrestricted free agents. The Steelers should release Trubisky this offseason.
Releasing Trubisky would save the Steelers $8 million against the 2023 cap while creating a manageable dead cap charge of $2.6 million. It’s a no-brainer decision. The Steelers simply can’t stomach Trubisky’s $10.6 million cap hit given their financial issues.
Pittsburgh general manager Omar Khan signed Trubisky to a two-year contract worth $14.2 million last summer. Trubisky was a bridge-type addition for a team in transition following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. The Steelers doubled down at quarterback by drafting Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Trubisky entered the 2022 campaign as Pittsburgh’s starter after an offseason competition with Pickett. It was a predictable outcome given Pittsburgh’s preference to bring Pickett along slowly. Trubisky saw action in seven regular-season contests. He was rather ineffective, averaging 7.0 yards per attempt while throwing for more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4).
Pickett eventually supplanted Trubisky as Pittsburgh’s starter and never looked back. Pickett showcased considerable growth as Pittsburgh’s season progressed. Pickett led the Steelers to three consecutive victories to end their season. Trubisky played a useful role for the Steelers in 2022, but there are no questions regarding who Pittsburgh’s starter will be in 2023. Pickett is their franchise quarterback. Trubisky’s services are no longer required.
It’s worth acknowledging the Steelers will need to add a backup quarterback this summer. Mason Rudolph is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected back in Pittsburgh next season. The Steelers should manage to add a backup signal-caller at less than Trubisky’s $10.6 million cap hit. Veteran options like Jacoby Brissett or Andy Dalton could make sense. Pickett could still benefit from the presence of a veteran backup, but it should be an affordable one.
Trubisky isn’t Pittsburgh’s lone cut candidate. Releasing cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who missed 12 of Pittsburgh’s final 13 games, would net the Steelers an additional $4 million. Releasing special teams player Gunner Olszewski saves the Steelers $2 million. Pittsburgh could certainly put that combined $6 million to use.
The Steelers possess 22 free agents, 18 of which are of the unrestricted variety. The group of expiring contracts is highlighted by defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, cornerback Cameron Sutton, linebacker Robert Spillane, and safety Terrell Edmunds. The Steelers have always prioritized retaining their own. Releasing Trubisky will be key to providing the financial flexibility necessary to sign some of their own free agents.
Trubisky was signed by the Steelers to play a specific role. He provided the Steelers with necessary snaps that allowed Pickett to develop behind the scenes. Trubisky’s work in Pittsburgh is officially done. Pickett showcased the skills necessary to move forward with him. The Steelers will almost certainly release Trubisky this summer.
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