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Steelers Sign Former Patriots QB Ahead of Thursday Night Football

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New England Patriots quarterback Trace McSorley (19) prepares to make a pass during the second half of an NFL pre-season football game against the Houston Texans, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)

This week the New England Patriots play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. On Monday, the Steelers signed a former Patriots quarterback to help bolster their cause. Trace McSorley has signed a veteran practice squad deal with Pittsburgh.

McSorley was with the Patriots throughout the summer. New England signed him as a free agent on Apr. 13, 2023. McSoreley appeared in two preseason games, with limited opportunities. He completed 1-of-4 passes for four yards, and carried the ball twice for two yards. On Aug. 28 the New England Patriots released Trace McSorley. Rosters needed to be trimmed to 53 by the following day.

At the time it appeared McSorley had been beaten out for the Patriots backup quarterback job by Bailey Zappe and/or Malik Cunningham. However, the next day both were also cut by New England, before being brought back.

The Baltimore Ravens selected Trace McSorely in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Penn State. He spent over two years in Baltimore, appearing in three games. On Nov. 23, 2021 the Arizona Cardinals signed McSorley off of the Ravens practice squad. He appeared in six games, starting one, for the Cardinals in 2022. New England was his next NFL stop.

McSorley signed with the Chicago Bears practice squad a few weeks after being released by the Patriots. He remained on the Bears practice squad until they released him on Nov. 21, 2023.

A Fit in Pittsburgh

Trace McSorley checks two boxes for the Pittsburgh Steelers. First, he may be able to provide inside intel on the Patriots playbook. The quarterback spent the entire offseason with the New England Patriots, so Pittsburgh picking his brain ahead of playing New England makes sense. Bill Belichick made similar roster moves many times over the course of his career.

Second, and more important for the Steelers, there is a need for quarterback depth in Pittsburgh. Starting QB Kenny Pickett is out, requiring surgery on his injured ankle. Although Pittsburgh has veterans Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, they previously did not have a quarterback on the practice squad. McSorely provides them with some much needed depth at the position.