The Pittsburgh Steelers dealt with quarterback drama prior to the start of the 2022 season. Frankly, the drama dragged on into the season for quite a while. Most probably assumed we would be leaving that behind us when it became clear that our QB1 would be Kenny Pickett.
Now we have a “lite version” of the quarterback controversy as the Steelers work to determine who is third on the depth chart.
Now as the 2023 season is drawing near, the Steelers will need to figure out that backup quarterback situation. After months of rumors that former starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky might leave the team, he seems to be staying put.
Long-time Pittsburgh backup, Mason Rudolph, has made it clear that he would like to move on from Pittsburgh in a sort of last hurrah.
The Steelers did pick up rookie undrafted free agent Tanner Morgan from the University of Minnesota. However, that is not a sure thing, it just means Morgan will have an opportunity to try to compete.
All of this minor uncertainty has fans and analysts going wild with speculation. There are still several free agent quarterbacks on the market and one name has come up multiple times, Nick Foles.
Should The Steelers Snatch Free Agent Nick Foles As QB3?
The Steelers also have to consider the future. Trubisky is under contract only through the 2023 season, and as Gerry Dulac from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, the Steelers aren’t likely to extend him beyond this year.
“He will want to go somewhere where he might have a better chance of playing.”
In another one of his “chats,” when asked about Morgan, Dulac also speculates on the team bringing in another veteran to round out the competition.
“I don’t know enough about him to evaluate his chances. But I’m sure they will look at him in OTA’s and decide if they need to bring in a veteran No. 3, which I think is the likelihood.”
All this talk of bringing in vets has others theorizing who those vets might be. Former Steelers linebacker, Arthur Moats is one of those speculators.
On a recent episode of his podcast, The Arthur Moats Show, Moats, and his co-host Deke discussed the possibility of the Steelers signing Foles.
Deke brings up that Foles has a connection to Steelers assistant GM Andy Weidl as they were both with the Philadelphia Eagles at the same time. Moats agrees, saying he fully expected that to be the immediate discussion once Foles was cut from the Indianapolis Colts.
Foles has seen the highest highs and lately some of the lowest lows. He was a third-round draft pick out of the University of Arizona and was drafted by the Eagles. He had a solid start to his career backing up Michael Vick. In 2013, he came in for the injured Vick and set a touchdown to interception ratio record, and earned himself a Pro Bowl nod.
He was unable to replicate that the next season and was traded to the St. Louis Rams. From there to Kansas City as a backup and back to the Eagles to sit behind Carson Wentz. Again, injury gave him an opportunity, and led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win, and was named MVP.
He then became a bit of a journeyman with stops in Jacksonville, Chicago (where he battled Trubisky), and Indianapolis.
A Valid Reason For The Steelers To Sign Foles
Moats makes an excellent pitch for Foles. It is more than just the fact that he is a long-time veteran in this league.
“He has won a Super Bowl. He has a ring. We don’t have that championship pedigree right now. And he has the Andy Weidl connection,” said Moats.
Deke does agree that having a Super Bowl MVP goes hand-in-hand with all the championship-type guys we’re bringing in. Moats thinks that pedigree is something that will benefit Pickett, Foles has something no other current Steelers quarterback does – winning at the highest level.
“You need a mentor. Mitch can’t mentor the way Nick can. Mitch ain’t been past the division round. Nick has taken a team to the Super Bowl and won. He’s led, he did that.”
Moats points out that Foles appears to be the Steelers’ current best bet. His concerns are – how committed is Foles? He’s talked about retiring at the end of the past few seasons. He also said the money would have to be right. While it is easy to say you would pay him less than Trubisky, he might not take that.
“It just doesn’t work like that with quarterbacks all the time though, not with quarterbacks who have actually had accomplishments at this level. The number would be a big thing for me.”
As Moats also points out, there is another connection to the Steelers. Trubisky and Foles were together in Chicago and competed for a spot. Foles lost the battle to Trubisky, but ultimately he was benched and Foles played. None of the options make Moats or Deke feel confident.
“Hopefully it does not come down to any of them,” says Moats.
He did acknowledge that last season when Pickett had a concussion, we did have to bring in a backup, so the possibility of needing them is there.