The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Will Mitch Trubisky become the Steelers’ next Charlie Batch?
The Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky as a free agent last year understanding that he would potentially serve, at least, as a bridge starter. They knew before signing him that they would like to draft a quarterback—specifically Kenny Pickett—if the opportunity arose, but had no idea if they would have the chance.
But his two-year, $16 million contract reflected the reality of his uncertain role in the future, a deal that also included incentives that would add millions more. He did start the first four games over Pickett, but it wasn’t long before the Steelers pulled him in favor of the future—now the present.
While things didn’t go as Trubisky had hoped, however, all indications suggest he is perfectly fine in Pittsburgh. After all, he just signed a new two-year contract extension. There was no gun to his head, and he knows the odds of him starting over Pickett any time soon are remote.
So that begs the question of what that extension means for Trubisky. On the surface, it would seem to imply that he has accepted the likelihood that he is probably going to be a long-term backup. And he just tied himself to the team for the next three years when he could have potentially hit free agency in 2024.
We don’t know if he’ll play out the entirety of his current deal, but he could certainly become the Steelers’ new long-term backup, perhaps in the mold of Charlie Batch, a former starter who served as a veteran presence and sort of coach and mentor to a young Ben Roethlisberger at the start of his career. He was also a valuable number two—whenever Byron Leftwich wasn’t around.
Batch was a fixture of the team for a number of years. Trubisky could be that next valuable long-term backup, and it’s hard to conceive of why he would sign this extension if he wasn’t prepared to accept that role.