Steelers Aiming To Re-Sign Mason Rudolph

The Steelers’ quarterbacks room is already set to look a bit different after the expected recent departure of Mitch Trubisky. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team is hoping that it won’t change much more as they reportedly aim to keep backup quarterback Mason Rudolph around moving forward.

Unlike Trubisky, Rudolph’s possible exit is a result of free agency. A former third-round draft pick in 2018, Rudolph has played out his rookie contract plus two one-year extensions. The Steelers turned to Rudolph early in his career, when he started eight games in 2019, but he hasn’t seen that many starts in the four years since combined.

When usual starter Ben Roethlisberger went down with an injury in 2019, Rudolph led Pittsburgh to five wins in eight starts. After a physical on-field scuffle with Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, during which Garrett accused him of using a racial slur, and a poor performance the following week, Rudolph was benched in favor of Devlin Hodges. He wouldn’t start another game until a rest day for the starters at the end of the 2020 season and once again as a COVID-19 replacement for Roethlisberger in 2021. He would spend the entire 2022 season on the bench after being relegated to third-string duties behind Trubisky and then-rookie Kenny Pickett.

This year, Rudolph saw his first extended action in four years. With the Steelers’ season circling the drain as one of the league’s least efficient offenses, Rudolph finally found his way back to the field. With Pickett sidelined with injury, Trubisky was in for a start against the Colts in Week 14. Rudolph stepped in due to Trubisky’s struggles and would start the next two games as to new No. 2 behind an injured Pickett.

When Pickett was cleared to play in a must-win regular season finale against the Ravens, though, Pittsburgh opted to ride with Rudolph. Led by Rudolph, the Steelers beat the mostly second-string Ravens and made the playoffs. Rudolph was once again selected as the team’s starter when they traveled to Buffalo for a Wild Card game against the Bills the following week.

Rudolph’s late-season success had many asking the obvious question: why didn’t Pittsburgh turn to him sooner with all its struggles on offense throughout the year? Apparently, according to Dulac, that same sentiment has caused some internal division within the Steelers’ organization, creating a camp that believes Rudolph should be the starter when the 2024 season opens. In order to make that happen, though, the team will have to find a way to re-sign him, which appears to be their goal.

With Rudolph and Pickett viewed as the preferred contenders for the position, Dulac reports that the Steelers “are not interested in bringing in a quarterback who wants to be a starter.” That rules Pittsburgh out of the race for quarterbacks who are seemingly available like Justin Fields, Kirk Cousins, or even maybe Russell Wilson. It likely rules out a high-end rookie passers like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels, as well. They may make moves to add some solid, veteran backup depth at the position, but with Pickett already under contract, the aim, for now, is to lock down Rudolph, as well.

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