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Tomlin: Mitch Trubisky Will Be Steelers Backup QB in 2023




PHOENIX — Mike Tomlin confirmed that Mitch Trubisky will return as the team’s backup quarterback for the 2023 season at the NFL Annual Meeting on Sunday.

Meeting with Pittsburgh-area reporters on the first day of the meetings, Tomlin echoed the comments that general manager Omar Khan gave before the NFL combine that Trubisky appears entrenched as the team’s backup quarterback.

Trubisky was signed in 2022 with the intention of him starting, but he was supplanted by rookie Kenny Pickett after just three and a half games. He performed well as a backup, entering in two games and starting a third after Pickett suffered a pair of concussions, proving his value to the team. Pickett and Trubisky also seem to have a positive working relationship.

“Mitch has been awesome since the day he got here,” Khan said. “How he’s been with Kenny has been great. I want Mitch around. … I think any young quarterback will tell you, having that veteran presence around them is tremendous, especially a guy like Mitch, who just handles things so well.”

RELATED: Steelers Hope to Retain Mitch Trubisky, Despite Salary Cap Hit

The downside to Trubisky is that the contract that was signed with the intention of him being a starter is something of an albatross as a backup. His $10.625 million salary cap hit for 2023 will be the 16th-most of any NFL quarterback, the most of any backup quarterback and more than triple what Pickett will cost.

But the Steelers are currently pretty comfortably under the salary cap and seem to value Trubisky’s contributions more than the extra space they could net by hiring a cheaper replacement.

The Steelers have just the two quarterbacks on their roster, as Mason Rudolph is an unrestricted free agent. Khan did not rule out a return for Rudolph, but Tomlin only said that he “doesn’t know at this point” what the team’s plan will be for its third quarterback.

Having a quality third quarterback could be more useful in 2023, as one of the proposed rule changes that Tomlin and others members of the competition committee will weigh in on will be the ability to play a third quarterback that is not on the active roster if a team’s first two quarterbacks are ruled out.

The proposal, put forward by the Detroit Lions, comes on the heels of the San Francisco 49ers being forced to finish their NFC Championship Game appearance without a quarterback after Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson were both injured.

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