At least from the perspective of many on the outside, the Pittsburgh Steelers have some decisions to make at the quarterback position. Kenny Pickett is their starter moving forward, at least in 2023, but questions persist about Mitch Trubisky’s future at an $8 million base salary as the backup.
And then there’s the reality that Mason Rudolph is a pending free agent and likely has every reason to want to pursue nearly any other opportunity in the NFL first before accepting any scenario that sees him return to the Steelers.
Assuming that they end up with at least one opening in their quarterback room—which is likely—one possible third option has been a popular reunion. That would be their own former fourth-round draft pick in 2017, Joshua Dobbs, a connection Titans beat writer Jon Burton agrees is a legitimate option.
“I think it’s possible. Tomlin likes mobile running quarterbacks, and he played okay when he started the last couple of games here, gave them a chance in the Jacksonville win-or-go-home Saturday night game”, he said last week on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller.
“He put some decent stuff on tape”, he added, referring to Dobbs’ very brief time in Tennessee at the end of the 2022 season. “It wouldn’t shock me if he wound up back in Pittsburgh. It wouldn’t shock me if he stuck around here”.
In spite of the occasional departure, Dobbs has spent most of his career in Pittsburgh. He ascended to the backup role in 2018 before being demoted in favor of Rudolph the following year. They then traded him to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round pick after week one. He found his way back to Pittsburgh in 2020 after the Jaguars cut him; he was on the Reserve/Injured List in 2021.
They did not re-sign him in 2022, however, even with Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. They still had Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, and would later add Mitch Trubisky in free agency following by the draft selections of Pickett in the first round and Chris Oladokun in the seventh.
Dobbs actually signed with the Cleveland Browns shortly before the 2022 NFL Draft and spent most of the season with them, waived only after Deshaun Watson returned from suspension, though he did not play in the regular season.
After spending some time on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad, he signed with the Titans on December 21, starting the final two games of the year on December 29 and January 7. He completed 40 of 68 pass attempts for 411 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled four times, losing two, rushing for 44 yards on eight rushes.
There is a reasonable chance that Dobbs’ market will be soft, but he will want to choose the path of least resistance to playing time. If the Steelers have Pickett and Trubisky on their roster, he will likely favor staying in Tennessee or going to another city with a better shot at being at least a backup.