PITTSBURGH — Lower than an hour into the NFL’s authorized tampering interval on Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to phrases with a quarterback.
Bringing in former Buffalo Payments and Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on a two-year take care of undisclosed financial phrases isn’t a splashy signing by most requirements — nevertheless it’s vital for the Steelers.
The group is commonly quiet by the primary wave of free company, preferring to prioritize its personal gamers and ready for the mud to settle earlier than making a sequence of comparatively under-the-radar strikes. The Steelers additionally aren’t recognized for pursuing outdoors quarterbacks as potential starters. Since 2004, the yr Ben Roethlisberger was drafted, there have been 271 begins by homegrown signal-callers in comparison with 18 by gamers who began their NFL careers outdoors Pittsburgh.
However with Roethlisberger’s retirement, a comparatively weak quarterback draft class and the free-agent and commerce market drying up, the Steelers needed to transfer quick.
In buying Trubisky, a former No. 2 general choose, the Steelers stayed true to most of their core tenets. They didn’t have to surrender draft capital to signal him, and his contract ought to be comparatively cheap, giving them the cap house to go after different wants at offensive line, inside linebacker and cornerback.
“I’m past excited and blessed for the chance to be part of the Pittsburgh Steelers group,” Trubisky texted to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. ”I’ve great respect for the Rooney household and Coach [Mike] Tomlin. They’ve constructed probably the greatest rosters in soccer, and I can’t wait to contribute and assist this crew proceed their success.”
Is Trubisky the subsequent nice Steelers quarterback? Most likely not. However the subsequent Roethlisberger in all probability wasn’t strolling by the door in 2022.
The asking worth for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is reportedly a number of first-round draft picks together with an enormous cap hit, and whereas Jimmy Garoppolo seemingly received’t price fairly that haul, he figures to command extra draft capital than the Steelers would usually really feel comfy parting with given the prolonged record of roster holes to fill.
Trubisky is the Steelers’ human security internet. He alleviates the strain to draft a first-round quarterback from a below-average class, and he offers the Steelers significant competitors on the place. Final month, normal supervisor Kevin Colbert stated Mason Rudolph could be the crew’s starter if the season began the subsequent day.
That’s not precisely the case now. The pair will seemingly enter coaching camp in a contest for the beginning job. And, as a result of Colbert stated he expects to have 4 quarterbacks on the roster for coaching camp, former first-rounder Dwayne Haskins additionally figures to be on the roster, together with one different participant. That fourth possibility might be a second- or third-round choose, or a comparatively minor free-agency signing, similar to bringing again Josh Dobbs.
“Mason is 5-4-1 as an NFL starter, albeit in a backup sort of function, however we’re excited to see what’s subsequent for Mason,” Colbert stated in February. “Dwayne Haskins got here in and did some good issues all through the season as a scout crew quarterback. He performed some in a preseason, and we’re excited to see what Dwayne can present both from competitors or perhaps he evolves as a starter. None of us know at this level.
“It will be an incredible coaching camp for these two, and for no matter participant we’re ready so as to add in that blend.”
Whereas Rudolph has labored intently with offensive coordinator Matt Canada for 2 seasons, Trubisky’s talent set ought to mesh nicely with Canada’s scheme.
The 28-year-old Trubisky excelled throughout his stint in Chicago when the offense used pre-snap movement. His QBR was 22.5 factors increased with movement than with out it, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Data analysis. His completion proportion additionally jumped from 65% to 69% %, and he threw 29 touchdowns to seven interceptions in comparison with 35 touchdowns and 30 interceptions with out movement.
Although the Steelers used pre-snap movement 36% of the time final season, Canada closely used it throughout his profession as a university offensive coordinator and figures to function it extra closely subsequent season.
Trubisky typically excelled at brief, fast passes at or behind the road of scrimmage, one other staple in Canada’s offense.
Trubisky additionally possesses the sort of mobility the Steelers needed to prioritize this offseason. From 2017 to ’20, Trubisky’s 833 dashing yards on scrambles had been the fifth most amongst all quarterbacks.
However for as a lot constructive potential as Trubisky brings to Pittsburgh, there are drawbacks.
Trubisky had eight pink zone interceptions in Chicago, probably the most within the NFL from 2017 to ’20, and his 50.eight QBR over that stretch was 29th within the league. He additionally had the second-highest off-target proportion at 19.4% over that span.
However Trubisky has expertise working with Buffalo’s workers and studying behind Josh Allen for a season. One other change of surroundings and work with Canada and revered quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan may assist his growth much more.
Signing Trubisky doesn’t make the Steelers a Tremendous Bowl contender, nevertheless it doesn’t take them out of the race, both. If the group completely executes free company and the draft to enhance gamers like Najee Harris, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers can have a profitable season with out a famous person quarterback. It’s going to take including to the offensive line, inside linebackers, defensive position and secondary, however a robust run sport and a championship-level protection can bolster a mean passing assault.
Trubiksy isn’t a house run signing by the Steelers, however his addition is one which will get them on base in a aggressive AFC North whereas sustaining as a lot flexibility as potential to handle different positions of want whereas they proceed the seek for Roethlisberger’s inheritor obvious.