In today's NFL, the backup quarterback may be the second-most important position, behind the starting quarterback, of course. That is probably the main reason why Steelers president Art Rooney II recently said that he expects the team to honor the final year of Mitch Trubisky's two-year contract. 

Trubisky, who started the 2022 season as the starter before losing the job to Kenny Pickett, went 2-3 in five starts. He was especially efficient in helping the Steelers defeat the Panthers in Week 14 while playing in place of Pickett, who was injured. 

On paper, bringing Trubisky back makes sense. He's capable of successfully leading the Steelers' offense if he is called into action. He's also under contract after signing with Pittsburgh on the first official day of free agency last March. 

Trubisky comes with an expensive price tag for a backup, however. He carries a $10.25 million cap hit that he likely won't be willing to renegotiate. Trubisky has also made it clear that he wants a chance to compete for a starting job, so it's safe to say that he won't be thrilled with playing second fiddle to Pickett for another year. 

While Trubisky is in line to reprise his role as backup, the Steelers should look at other options ahead of free agency. Here are the top-five quarterbacks who could fill Trubisky's role, at a more affordable rate to boot. 

All estimated market values courtesy of Spotrac 

1. Baker Mayfield 

Baker Mayfield
TB • QB • #6
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  • Age: 27
  • Experience: 5 years 
  • Estimated market value: 2 years, $13 million (avg. $6.5 million per season) 

Mayfield's market value is still a little too high for a backup. That being said, Mayfield is a highly experienced quarterback whose experience includes a playoff win over the Steelers back in 2020. A former No. 1 overall pick, Mayfield's mobility would be an asset within Matt Canada's offense. He's still young (he turns 28 in April), so Mayfield could be a long-term backup option for Pickett. 

2. Teddy Bridgewater 

Teddy Bridgewater
MIA • QB • #5
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  • Age: 30
  • Experience: 9 years 

A fellow former first-round pick, Bridgewater has won exactly half of his 66 career starts (including the postseason). He's just two years removed from a solid season in Denver that saw him complete nearly 67% of his passes with more than twice as many touchdowns (18) then interceptions (7). A year before that, Bridgewater completed over 69% of his throws as the Panthers' starting quarterback. 

3. Jacoby Brissett 

Jacoby Brissett
WAS • QB • #12
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Age: 30 
7 years 
Estimated market value:
1 year, $5.5 million 

Mobility isn't Brissett's game, which is why he isn't ranked higher. A former Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, Brissett is an experienced player who has previously played for four different franchises. He threw 18 touchdowns against just six picks as the Colts' starting quarterback in 2019. Last year, while filling in for the Browns during Deshaun Watson's suspension, Brissett threw twice as many touchdowns (12) as interceptions (6) in 11 starts. He's also a highly respected veteran who has served as a team leader on previous teams. 

4. Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew
IND • QB • #10
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  • Age: 26
  • Experience: 4 years 

"Minshew Mania" was the talk of Jacksonville during his rookie season back in 2019. The sixth-round pick won half of his starts while entertaining fans with his play style and personality. The mania ended in 2020, however, after Minshew won just one of his eight starts. He was ultimately traded to Philadelphia, where he made three starts in two years. 

Minshew's 8-16 record as a starter is underwhelming, but he does have an impressive career touchdown/interception ratio of 44/15. He has also completed nearly 63% of his 933 career pass attempts. 

5. Sam Darnold

Age: 25
Experience: 4 years 

Sam Darnold
SF • QB • #14
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Darnold has had the unenviable task of playing for two franchises who did not surround him with much talent. He did manage to win over half of his starts in 2019 (his second season with the Jets) and went 4-2 as the Panthers' starting quarterback in 2022. The former No. 1 overall pick has 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions in 56 career games. He's 21-34 as a starter. 

Instead of being the focal point, Darnold won most of his games last year by not making mistakes and leaning on a solid rushing attack.