AUGUST 29: The Steelers continue to receive calls on Rudolph, but Tom Pelissero of NFL.com adds the team is hesitant to unload its veteran backup (Twitter link). Pittsburgh may be angling for teams to up their offers, with Pelissero adding the team will not merely trade Rudolph just to save a roster spot.
AUGUST 27: Pittsburgh’s transition from Ben Roethlisberger to the Mitchell Trubisky-to-Kenny Pickett bridge situation leaves Mason Rudolph without a clear role. Other teams look to be coming to this conclusion, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noting the veteran backup is drawing trade interest (video link).
The Steelers are expected to listen to Rudolph trade inquiries, though it would need to be at “the right price.” The team should not be expected to land too much for the former third-round pick, and earlier this week, a report indicated trade interest was scarce.
Ahead of what turned out to be Roethlisberger’s final season, the Steelers extended Rudolph through 2022. He is due a manageable $3MM base salary and, as of now, accounts for just more than $4MM on Pittsburgh’s cap sheet. The Oklahoma State product has started a game in each of the past two seasons but was used regularly in 2019, when Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2.
Rudolph, 27, is viewed as Pittsburgh’s QB3 presently. With Trubisky expected to get the call for Week 1 and be replaced by Pickett at some point this season, Rudolph could be set to play out the string in Pittsburgh. Then again, the Steelers are seemingly in the market for a long-term Pickett backup. Trubisky would likely attempt to pursue another chance to start somewhere, or be a bridge to another team’s early-round draftee, whereas Rudolph’s ceiling looks like a backup.
The Steelers cut seventh-round rookie Chris Oladokun early, leaving three quarterbacks on their 80-man roster. A mid-round pick coming the team’s way would likely convince GM Omar Khan to part with Rudolph, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo, but otherwise, the trade chip might end up staying. The fifth-year passer would likely upgrade a few teams’ backup situations, but it remains to be seen what the Steelers’ price point would be.