The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted little time in getting to their 2024 “to-do” list. They released Mitchell Trubisky, Chuks Okorafor and Pressley Harvin III in moves that will give them some cap space and will also put an end to seemingly the longest tryout in punter history.
With the release of Trubisky, the Steelers will save over $3 million in cap space. Originally thought to be the guy to bridge the team from Ben Roethlisberger to a rookie who eventually became Kenny Pickett, Trubisky just never caught on. He went 2-5 in seven career starts with the Steelers throwing for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Trubisky was the starter entering the 2022 season but was replaced by the rookie Pickett in game four against the New York Jets. We learned later that day that he had been punched at halftime by Wide Receiver Diontae Johnson.
The former first round pick of the Chicago Bears was thought to be a perfect fit for Matt Canada’s offense but the QB and the system never meshed. In fairness to Canada, Trubisky threw some really bad interceptions that had little to do with the offense. There were very few bad things said about Trubisky and I believe the team cutting him loose now was a move of respect so that he could start the process of finding a new team.
As for Okorafor, the former Western Michigan Bronco played in 77 games, starting 59 of them. An athletic guy, Okorafor saw little action his first two seasons before becoming the regular starter for three straight years. After drafting Broderick Jones in the first round of the NFL draft in April, it was unclear if he or Dan Moore, Jr was the one facing the bench. After about seven games it was clear that Okorafor had drawn the short straw as Jones slid in and immediately upgraded the running attack.
I’m a little surprised the Steelers didn’t try to trade Okorafor but as they did with Trubisky, this may have been a courteous move simply out of respect. Okorafor being cut will save the Steelers $9 million.
Harvin probably was given more time than he deserved as the Steelers struggled to find a reliable and consistent punter. It was the opinion of many that Harvin’s first season was not counted against him as his father was battling illness and ultimately passed away.
Unfortunately the punting just didn’t improve. There were moments where you thought ‘maybe this is the one’ that gets him going but it just wasn’t to be as inconsistencies crept back in. Mike Tomlin has to settle this position. Field position is so crucial in football but Tomlin also prefers his punter do the holding for Chris Boswell and that’s a huge part of the Special Teams puzzle.
Today’s moves were the first of many and largely unsurprising. The Steelers will need to get below the cap by March 13th which shouldn’t be a problem. The biggest question now is what happens in the QB room because right now Kenny Pickett is the only one in it.