It is rare for quarterbacks to transform into something completely different overnight after they have passed the developmental stage of their careers. A Ryan Tannehill comes along every now and then, but Mitchell Trubisky’s teetering stint with the Steelers shows that leopards rarely change their spots.
While reports indicated Trubisky was the presumed starter even after Pittsburgh drafted Kenny Pickett, the Steelers did not expect him to be the quarterback of the future when they signed him to a two-year deal in March.
As the Steelers signed Trubisky, the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson and signed Jacoby Brissett to a one-year contract as insurance. According to most measures, Brissett has performed better than Trubisky this season.Although the Browns’ offense still relies heavily on their running game, Brissett’s throws helped the Browns get past the Steelers on Thursday night..
It’s easy to understand why now-retired Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert signed Trubisky. Pittsburgh’s offense could be boosted if a younger, relatively mobile quarterback who was in a bad situation with the Bears could reach the playoffs with Ben Roethlisberger.
The difference between Trubisky and Roethlisberger is that he’s younger and more mobile. He has never been able to overcome his limitations as a passer. It is simply not enough for Trubisky to put the Steelers among the AFC’s contenders in an offense that does him no favors.
Pittsburgh will have Kenny Pickett at quarterback by 2023, if not sooner. The Steelers gave Trubisky a two-year contract, so if he’s released after this season, his cap hit will still be $2.625 million.
The switch to Pickett needs to happen by midseason if the team wants to avoid paying him more than that. Trubisky is due a $1 million bonus if he plays 60 percent of snaps this season, and a $4 million bonus if he plays 70 percent.
This all seemed avoidable for a quarterback who may not rank in the top-four of his own division.