It didn't take long into the offseason for Steelers quarterback talks to heat up. Just one day after the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVIII, Pittsburgh is making headlines. This shouldn't come as a big surprise, as Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II both noted that the team will be looking for competition at the QB position in 2024.
However, based on the latest rumors and reports, it's beginning to sound like Pittsburgh could have significant interest in upgrading Kenny Pickett rather than just adding a veteran quarterback who could compete with him. The latest Steelers news features Mitch Trubisky, Justin Fields trade talks, and a clue that Mason Rudolph could be leaving in free agency.
Steelers and Mitch Trubisky are parting ways
On Monday evening, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network confirmed that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mitch Trubisky have mutually decided to part ways. This is a friendly way of putting this, as Trubisky still had two years remaining on the contract extension he signed during the 2023 offseason. Essentially, the Steelers are releasing him.
Trubisky disappointed when the Steelers called upon him in the second half of the 2023 season. Now the former second overall pick of the Bears in the 2017 draft will be looking for work. Pittsburgh could not justify entering the 2024 season with his substantial salary cap number. This becomes the first official release by the Steelers this offseason.
Adam Schefter reminds us of how much Mike Tomlin likes Justin Fields
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter recently joined the Pat McAfee Show where he discussed the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback position. Schefter mentioned three names who could be added to the roster in 2024, and Justin Fields was the most notable.
"We know that Pittsburgh is going to go out and get some type of quarterback; whether that's Ryan Tannehill, whether that's Russell Wilson, whether that's Justin Fields... Mike Tomlin is a big fan of Justin Fields. We'll keep that in mind during the offseason in the coming weeks." "- Adam Schefter via The Pat McAfee Show
This reminder of Mike Tomlin's interest in Justin Fields could mean nothing, or perhaps it could mean that Schefter thinks this is a player the Steelers will pursue as soon as March 13th when the 2024 NFL trade period opens up.
Fields is the biggest name projected to be traded during the 2024 offseason, and it looks like there's a chance the Steelers could be interested in acquiring his services. Tomlin was a big fan of Fields during the pre-draft process in 2021.
It's worth noting, however, that team president Art Rooney II said that a trade for a quarterback would fall in the unlikely category. Read into that what you will, but there's no question the Steelers are in the market for an upgrade to ensure they don't go eight straight seasons without a playoff win.
Mason Rudolph wants a 'fresh start'
According to NFL Network, Mason Rudolph will be looking for a 'fresh start' away from Pittsburgh. Rudolph has been the team's backup since getting drafted in the third round back in 2018. After playing for an injured Ben Roethlisberger in 2019, Rudolph sat on the bench for most of the past three years before entering the lineup late in the 2023 season.
Knowing that the team plans to bring in QB competition is likely the driving force behind Rudolph wanting to explore other options in free agency this year. I recently wrote about why it doesn't make sense for the Steelers to bring Rudolph back, and by the sounds of it, he doesn't want to come back anyway.
Draft analysts details Steelers' biggest needs
Recently, NFL.com's Chad Reuter broke down the five biggest needs of all 32 teams during the 2024 offseason. In order, Reuter described that Pittsburgh's biggest needs are cornerback, offensive tackle, interior offensive line, linebacker, and defensive tackle.
Most fans would likely agree with Reuter's assessment. The top three needs seem pretty clear, as the Steelers have a glaring need for a cornerback to work opposite of Joey Porter Jr. Likewise, Pittsburgh must find upgrades over Dan Moore Jr. and Mason Cole on the offensive line.
The first big opportunity to address these needs will begin during the free agency legal tampering period that opens at noon Eastern Time on March 11th. Signing cannot be made official until March 13th at 4:00 p.m. ET.