Sports

Steelers cut QB Mitch Trubisky after disappointing 2 seasons from the former No. 2 overall pick

PITTSBURGH — (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers cut quarterback Mitch Trubisky on Monday, sending the former No. 2 overall draft pick into free agency after two disappointing seasons.

Trubisky signed with the Steelers in March 2022 and was given first crack at replacing the retired Ben Roethlisberger. Trubisky started four games before being benched in favor of then-rookie Kenny Pickett. Trubisky struggled again this season while filling in for an injured Pickett, losing starts against New England and Indianapolis before being replaced by third-stringer Mason Rudolph.

Releasing Trubisky creates about $11.5 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons.

Pittsburgh also cut offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and punter Pressley Harvin III to begin what could be a series of moves to free up money before free agency begins.

With Trubisky gone, Pickett is the Steelers' only quarterback under contract for next season. Rudolph is set to become a free agent in March, though coach Mike Tomlin said the team is interested in bringing Rudolph — who won three games as a starter to help the Steelers reach the playoffs — back to compete with Pickett during training camp.

Trubisky went 2-5 as a starter with the Steelers, throwing for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. While gave Pittsburgh an athletic presence in the pocket, his questionable decision-making and poor mechanics — issues that plagued him earlier in his career in Chicago — forced the Steelers to turn to others.

The 29-year-old Trubisky lasted four seasons with the Bears, who drafted him in 2017, and spent a year as a backup for Buffalo before trying to revive his career with the Steelers.

Okorafor's departure was all but assured when he was benched in favor of rookie first-round pick Broderick Jones midway through the season after his outburst late in a loss to Jacksonville. Okorafor started 59 games for the Steelers after being taken in the third round of the 2018 draft.

The 26-year-old played well at times and was given a three-year, $29.25 million contract in 2022.

Yet when Pittsburgh selected Jones with the 14th overall pick of the 2023 draft and with left tackle Dan Moore Jr. on a rookie contract, Okorafor's days were numbered. Okorafor said after Pittsburgh's season ended with a first-round playoff loss to Buffalo that he wouldn't have signed the new contract if he thought he wouldn't be with the team through the end of it.

“If I knew that was going to be the case, I probably wouldn't have chosen to come back here,” Okorafor said in January. “At this point, there's nothing you can do about it.”

Harvin, a seventh-round pick in 2021, struggled with consistency during his three years with the Steelers. He averaged 43.7 yards per punt in 47 games with Pittsburgh, but rather than bring him back to play the final year of his four-year deal, the Steelers instead will head into the offseason looking for a new punter.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL

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