QB competition will highlight issues Steelers must resolve when training camp opens

Plenty of newness will surround the Pittsburgh Steelers when they report to training camp Tuesday and return to Saint Vincent for the first time in three years.

Given the retirement to Ben Roethlisberger, they will have a new starting quarterback for the first time in two decades. His successor will be determined before the season opens Sept. 11 at Cincinnati.

At least the Steelers know the identity of their general manager following Kevin Colbert’s resignation. Top lieutenant Omar Khan has taken over and acted quickly to sign Minkah Fitzpatrick to a long-term contract and add defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi to replace another retiring player, Stephon Tuitt.

The Steelers also will have new faces at inside linebacker (Myles Jack) and cornerback (Levi Wallace). Mason Cole and James Daniels are new additions to the offensive line, and draft picks George Pickens and Calvin Austin III will compete for roles at wide receiver.

Here are five camp storylines to watch as the Steelers prep for their first preseason game at a home venue that also carries a new name: Acrisure Stadium:

1. Who is under center?

Roethlisberger’s retirement left Mason Rudolph as the most experienced quarterback on the roster. But the Steelers hardly stood pat at the game’s most important position, signing Mitch Trubisky in free agency and drafting former Pitt star Kenny Pickett in the first round.

Pickett clearly is the future at quarterback. Could he also be the present? That will be determined starting with the opening workout Wednesday. Pickett was third on the depth chart in offseason workouts, with Trubisky getting the first-team reps and Rudolph working with the twos.

Trubisky’s 29-21 record in 50 career starts is part of what made him attractive to the Steelers. So did his mobility, a trait that also weighs in Pickett’s favor. The wild card is Rudolph, who has the most experience in second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system.

2. Who will start at left guard?

Although the Steelers brought in two veterans to play right guard and center, they will let two relatively young players compete for the starting left interior spot. Kevin Dotson earned the starting job last year, his second in the NFL, but he spent the second half of the year on injured reserve.

Kendrick Green, who started at center as a rookie, is returning to his natural position. He took the bulk of his snaps at guard in college at Illinois. John Leglue, who started six games in place of the injured Dotson, could factor into the mix and is a capable backup.

3. Will anyone get a new contract?

The biggest piece of offseason financial business was settled in June when Khan gave Fitzpatrick a five-year contract that included $36 million guaranteed and makes the safety the highest-paid player at his position.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson has expressed his desire to get a new deal before he hits free agency in March. Kicker Chris Boswell also can enter free agency as he nears the end of the five-year contract he signed during the 2018 training camp.

Boswell’s base salary of $3.26 million ranks 11th among kickers this season, and he reasonably could receive the $5 million average salary that Justin Tucker is earning. Johnson is a more expensive proposition. With the market soaring for top wide receivers, Johnson could seek $20 million annually, a salary the Steelers likely would be reluctant to give a player with one 1,000-yard season on his resume.

4. Will everyone report healthy?

Each year at camp, the Steelers open the festivities with a conditioning test. It is used to help determine whether a player needs to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.

Two players on the defensive line could fall into that category this year. Chris Wormley, who had a career-high seven sacks last year, did not participate in team drills in organized team activities and minicamp while dealing with an undisclosed injury. It could be related to the groin injury that bothered Wormley at the end of last season.

Ogunjobi also might not be ready at the outset of camp. Ogunjobi injured his right foot in a playoff game last season with Cincinnati, and he was unable to pass a physical after verbally agreeing to a three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears.

The Steelers signed Ogunjobi to a one-year, $8 million deal in June. Although he passed their physical, Ogunjobi still might need more recovery time after undergoing surgery.

5. Who will take the snaps at cornerback?

The last time the Steelers opened camp without Joe Haden was 2017 when they signed him less than two weeks before the regular season began. Haden was a mainstay at left cornerback for five seasons but remains unsigned at age 33.

The Steelers retained Akhello Witherspoon and signed former Buffalo Bills corner Levi Wallace to matching two-year, $8 million deals. They also have Cam Sutton returning for a second year as a starter, presumably on the outside.

With his experience at playing inside, Sutton could be on the move again. Still, he played primarily outside in offseason workouts, an indication Witherspoon and Wallace could be competing for one spot. Or Sutton could start outside on first and second downs, then move inside on passing situations.

The division of labor — one of coach Mike Tomlin’s favorite terms — will be worth watching as camp progresses.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at jrutter@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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