Mason Rudolph

Steelers Sign QB Russell Wilson

MARCH 15: The Steelers announced the signing Friday. While Wilson will become by far the highest-profile quarterback on Pittsburgh’s roster, the former Seahawks and Broncos starter is still expected to compete with Pickett for the starting job.

MARCH 10: After a strange two-year tenure in Denver followed an outstanding 10 seasons as a Seahawk, Russell Wilson plans to take his next snaps with the Steelers, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. What was anticipated to be a potentially lengthy and competitive free agency ends up being determined just before the start of the free agent period.

Wilson seemed to confirm the report by posting his own video on X. It is a one-year contract, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac tweets. Wilson’s third team will enjoy the chance to have him on a veteran-minimum deal, due to his Broncos situation, and the Washington Post’s Mark Maske confirms the Steelers are likely to pay Wilson only $1.21MM.

[RELATED: 2024 NFL Top 50 Free Agents]

Wilson’s short stint on the market started less than a week ago, when the Broncos made the decision to announce their plans to release him at the start of the new league year and granted him the right to communicate with outside teams. After failing to come to an agreement on a slight restructure to his five-year, $245MM deal with the Broncos, Denver is set to eat a record-obliterating dead money sum.

The Broncos will be hit with $85MM over the next two years, with nearly half that financial lump coming in 2024. By waiting until free agency opens on Wednesday to officially release him, the Broncos will be able to designate him as a post-June 1 release to minimize the historic damage this year. Now, Wilson heads to the Steel City to compete for the starting job with Kenny Pickett.

Pickett won the starting job in his rookie season from the newly departed Mitchell Trubisky, but this year, veteran backup Mason Rudolph took over as starter while Pickett was hurt and kept it after Pickett was healthy enough to play again. There were some in the Steelers’ camp who supported a camp battle between the two for the right to start in 2024, as opposed to gifting the job back to Pickett without a fight. Things sure change now.

With Wilson coming to town, Pickett may be in an uphill battle — one in which Rudolph is unlikely to be involved. In fact, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports that Rudolph’s reps met with the team Sunday, and with the Wilson news now public, it is hard to imagine Rudolph stays in Pittsburgh this year. This likely means that Pickett will find himself on the bench learning from a Super Bowl-winning nine-time Pro Bowler.

Wilson visited the Steelers late this week, after he met with the Giants. The Raiders also loomed as a potential option, but the Steelers surged to the front of the line. New OC Arthur Smith and Wilson met for several hours, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who adds Wilson’s Steelers homework effort involved reaching out to some players in advance of the meeting. A productive Smith-Pickett meeting took place last month in Florida, but the Steelers are changing their QB dynamic in the aftermath.

It is difficult to overstate how far Wilson drifted off course in Denver. The Broncos’ hiring of Nathaniel Hackett and giving Wilson considerable autonomy in the design of their 2022 offense resulted in a stunning freefall for the decorated quarterback. The Broncos fired Hackett after 15 games. Brought in partially to salvage their Wilson investment, Sean Payton coaxed a better season from the 12th-year veteran. But the year involved behind-the-scenes drama and a benching ahead of Denver’s Week 17 game. That week represented a sea change for the Broncos, effectively confirming Wilson would be elsewhere in 2024 and the 2022 trade — headlined by two first-round picks going to Seattle — will go down as an all-time debacle.

The Wilson contract, which was set to begin its extension years in 2024, will likely lead to the Steelers paying only $1.21MM for a potential Hall of Fame passer. Offset language will stick the Broncos with the rest of the tab, barely cutting into their dead money. Wilson is eager to help his new team on the contract front, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, and it will certainly be easier to build a roster around him compared to what became of his $49MM-AAV Broncos contract.

Wilson accused the Broncos of threatening to bench him unless he moved his injury guarantee vesting date from 2024 to 2025. That would have given the Broncos more flexibility. While the Broncos have denied a benching ultimatum was part of the equation, GM George Paton confirmed they wanted to adjust the guarantee date. Wilson refused and, as should be expected, omitted the Paton-Payton tandem from his Denver farewell post.

Wilson, 35, is the only quarterback in NFL history in the 40,000-5,000 club, reaching that air-ground place in Denver. Wilson did throw 26 touchdown passes compared to just eight interceptions last season, but Payton kept a tight leash on the improvisational passer. Even as the Broncos strung together a five-game midseason win streak, amid the behind-the-curtain drama, Wilson was not leading a high-octane attack. QBR ranked Wilson 21st last season. That marked an improvement from his 2022 disaster, but the former third-round find appears to be somewhere past his prime. The Steelers will determine how far.

Pickett has not progressed like the Steelers hoped. While Mike Tomlin said Pickett would be the starter coming into the offseason program, Wilson’s presence probably changes the equation. Wilson has seen a number of detractors emerge in recent years, but Pickett not keeping his QB1 gig through a second season is eye-opening. The Pitt product has thrown only 13 touchdown passes in 25 career games. Even with Wilson past his Seattle peak, Pickett will face stiff competition to recapture the job.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Titans To Sign QB Mason Rudolph

Russell Wilson‘s imminent Pittsburgh arrival was expected to end the Steelers’ partnership with Mason Rudolph. Indeed, after six years with the AFC North team, Rudolph will move on.

The Titans are giving the longtime Steelers backup a one-year, $3.62MM deal,’s Mike Garafolo tweets. With Ryan Tannehill‘s four-year contract off Tennessee’s books, the team will go about a new backup for Will Levis. Pittsburgh had been in talks on a new Rudolph deal, but the sides will move on. This Tennessee deal is worth $2.87MM in base value,’s Tom Pelissero adds.

[RELATED: Titans, Calvin Ridley Agree To Deal]

Ex-AFC North staffers are now leading the Titans’ offense and defense — Brian Callahan, Dennard Wilson — which will provide some advanced scouting work. While Wilson was only with the Ravens for one season, Callahan spent five as Bengals OC. Rudolph joined Lamar Jackson as the division’s longest-tenured quarterback, but the Steelers are going with Wilson as a rather high-profile competitor against Kenny Pickett. Despite Rudolph’s presence as the team’s playoff starter, he is headed to Nashville.

Tennessee’s decision to draft Levis last spring seemed to spell the end of Tannehill’s tenure atop the depth chart. Indeed, Levis took over midway through the 2023 season and he is positioned to hold the No. 1 role moving forward. The Titans’ only other passer under contract was former third-rounder Malik Willis, drafted as a developmental option in 2022. The latter’s ceiling is unknown, but Rudolph will provide a high floor as Levis insurance.

Remaining in place as Pittsburgh’s starter even after Pickett returned to health late in the year, Rudolph posted at least 229 passing yards three times between the close of the regular season and the team’s wild-card loss. He produced a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio during that four-game span, and a repeat of that efficiency would be welcomed if he were to be called into action in 2024. Seeing game time with Tennessee would help the Oklahoma State product’s free agent value ahead of next offseason.

Rudolph has already played on multiple one-year pacts, and that will continue this campaign. Another backup gig awaits him despite taking an opportunity outside of Pittsburgh for the first time in his career. Still, Rudolph could find himself playing a role in a Titans offense which will look very different compared to last year’s unit.

Adam La Rose contributed to this post.

Steelers, QB Mason Rudolph Begin Talks

Mentioned on a few occasions as having a clear path back to Pittsburgh, Mason Rudolph is taking steps toward that conclusion. While he may not be the favorite to be the Steelers’ 2024 starter, the team has the six-year veteran in its plans once again.

The Steelers have begun talks with their veteran backup-turned-playoff starter, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Rudolph began last season as the team’s third-stringer, playing on a one-year deal worth $1.1MM. It will almost definitely take more than that for the Steelers to bring Rudolph back. If completed, this would be a fourth Rudolph Steelers contract.

While Kaboly categorizes these as preliminary talks, Mike Tomlin indicated early this offseason the team would attempt to re-sign the former Ben Roethlisberger backup. A recent report also pegged some in the building as being OK vaulting Rudolph past Kenny Pickett on the depth chart. Tomlin has said Pickett will enter the offseason program as the starter, but his grip on the job is now tenuous. The Steelers, who have also been connected to Justin Fields, want someone to at least compete with the 2022 first-round pick.

I can’t tell when the deal would get done, hopefully with us,” Steelers GM Omar Khan said. “It’s just a process, and I understand it, but we’d like to have [Rudolph] back. … I believe he wants to come back and compete, and he likes it here.”

Inserted into the lineup after Mitch Trubisky‘s struggles replacing Pickett, Rudolph made four starts for the Steelers to close last season. The team went 3-1 in those games, returning to the playoffs and ensuring Tomlin’s .500-or-better streak would reach a 17th season. Rudolph moved the offense effectively when summoned, with the Steelers toppling the Bengals and Seahawks en route to their second postseason berth in three years. Despite Pickett being ready to return, he backed up Rudolph to close out the season. Rudolph, 28, had never previously held QB1 reins without an injury or COVID-19 contraction intervening.

A Rudolph return would be interesting for the Steelers, and the team’s plans with Fields or another veteran would stand to affect his interest in coming back. A Rudolph-Pickett competition would not exactly be the most inspiring of paths for the Steelers, who have not enjoyed steady quarterback play in several years.

Rudolph could conceivably balk at a return if the team acquires a higher-profile veteran, creating an unusual three-way competition for the job. It is unclear if a Rudolph re-signing would stop the Steelers from chasing another starter-caliber veteran, but it would certainly complicate matters. Regarding the Fields tie, the Steelers are not believed to be a true threat here. It appears they are aiming lower.

Rudolph might have other options, but a number of backup- or bridge-level arms are set to be available soon. Ryan Tannehill, the subject of a previous Steelers rumor due to Arthur Smith‘s arrival, joins a deep group that includes Jacoby Brissett, Gardner Minshew, Sam Darnold, Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor, Drew Lock and Joe Flacco. Injuries across the NFL last year may prompt some teams to spend more to fill their QB2 post, but at some point, this group could cannibalize each other on the market.

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.

Steelers To Start Mason Rudolph In Week 18

The final week of the regular season will begin with the Ravens and Steelers facing each other. While the former team has clinched the top seed in the AFC, the latter enters the contest with their playoff hopes on the line.

Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett is in better shape from a health perspective than he was last week as he continues to recover from ankle surgery, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Monday. In spite of that, he announced that Mason Rudolph will start once again on Saturday. The upcoming game will mark Rudolph’s third consecutive start.

When Pickett when down with an ankle injury which required a procedure, Mitch Trubisky took over on offense. The latter’s struggles led to Rudolph taking over midway through the Steelers’ loss to the Colts, however, and he was given the nod for Week 16. The 28-year-old impressed in Pittsburgh’s win over Cincinnati, meaning that Pickett’s return to practice was insufficient to make another QB change the following week.

Rudolph and the Steelers’ offense delivered a strong showing on Sunday in Seattle, leading the team to a 30-23 victory and improving their record to 9-7. An AFC wild-card berth is still in play as a result, making Tomlin’s decision under center a crucial one. Pickett will be able to practice more in the coming days than he did last week, and as such he will likely be able to dress for the regular season finale. As things stand now, though, he will not be counted on in a must-win game.

With the Ravens having locked up the No. 1 seed, the strong possibility exists they will rest a number of key starters on Saturday. While that would help the Steelers’ playoff push, they will require a win and help from at least one other result to secure a postseason berth. A pending free agent, Rudolph could help not only Pittsburgh’s short-term prospects but also his financial outlook for the offseason by continuing his strong play in Week 18.

Steelers To Start Mason Rudolph In Week 16

DECEMBER 21: For a third straight game, the Steelers will be without Pickett. Tomlin confirmed the second-year starter will miss Week 16, bringing Rudolph back to the forefront. After an eight-start 2019 season, the longtime Ben Roethlisberger backup has made two starts since.

DECEMBER 18: As foreshadowed over the weekend, the Steelers will be making a switch under center. Head coach Mike Tomlin announced on Monday that Mason Rudolph will get the start in Week 16 against the Bengals.

In his post-game remarks after a loss to the Colts on Saturday, Tomlin declined to confirm if Mitch Trubisky would retain the starting role. Tomlin hinted that changes on offense would be coming after Pittsburgh lost a third straight game to drop to 7-7. Now, that has been confirmed.

Rudolph will receive first-team reps in practice this week, although Tomlin did say (via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor) that starter Kenny Pickett has a chance to return to the field in time for the Cincinnati game. With Rudolph already having been named the starter, though, Pickett’s return would only be in a backup capacity as he recovers from ankle surgery.

Trubisky took over for Pickett during the Steelers’ upset loss to the Cardinals. He then started against the Patriots and Colts, games in which the team’s offensive struggles continued. In need of a late-season spark to stay alive in the wild-card race, Pittsburgh will now turn to Rudolph, who made his 2023 debut in the closing moments of Saturday’s game. The 28-year-old did not see the field last year, and the most recent of his 10 career starts came in 2021.

Rudolph was expected to find himself on a new team this offseason by means of a free agent departure. Signing with a new team could have created a clearer path to playing time, but in May he ultimately decided to re-up with the Steelers once again. That one-year pact worth the veteran minimum will now give the former third-rounder another opportunity to earn a role in Pittsburgh or a new team in the offseason.

Unlike Rudolph, Trubisky is on the books through 2025. The former No. 2 pick joined the Steelers on a two-year deal last spring, and he inked an extension this past offseason to continue serving as Pickett’s backup. Trubisky has not fared well during his time on the field this season, however, and today’s move marks a blow to the confidence the team has in him given the importance of their three-game stretch to close out the season.

Tomlin also announced safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will miss the Steelers’ contest against the Bengals. The All-Pro is dealing with a knee injury which forced him to leave the Colts loss. While Fitzpatrick’s’ absence will be felt on defense, plenty of attention will be on Rudolph and the offense as the Steelers look to end their losing streak and keep their playoff chances alive.

Steelers Rule Out Kenny Pickett For Week 15; Mitch Trubisky To Remain Starter

The Steelers were without Kenny Pickett for their Thursday night loss to kick off Week 14. The same will hold true of their starting quarterback for their next game.

[RELATED: Mike Tomlin Not On Hot Seat]

When speaking to the media on Monday, head coach Mike Tomlin announced Pickett will be out for Pittsburgh’s Saturday contest against the Colts. As he recovers from surgery on a sprained ankle, Mitch Trubisky will again get the nod for Pittsburgh in a game with signficant AFC playoff implications.

A report from last week indicated the Steelers were preparing for a four-week Pickett absence, so today’s update comes as little surprise. Pittsburgh elected not to place the 2022 first-rounder on injured reserve, though, leaving the door open to a return on a shorter timeline. While Pickett continues to rehab from surgery, Trubisky will be counted on to deliver an improved performance from the Steelers’ offense, a unit which has drawn heavy criticism throughout the season.

OC Matt Canada was fired in a rare in-season coaching change, but the new setup on the sidelines did not produce a spark over a disappointing two-game span last week. Losses to the Cardinals and Patriots leave the Steelers at 7-6, making them one of six teams at that record in the AFC’s wild-card picture. The Colts are another, and they will have Gardner Minshew at quarterback in what will be a battle of the backups this Saturday.

While Trubisky is in line to get another start – his seventh as a Steeler – third-stringer Mason Rudolph will also get some practice work this week, Tomlin added. However, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor notes it is unlikely the latter will realistically receive a chance to start. Regardless of who is under center, the Steelers will require improved play on offense compared to recent performances to maintain a playoff position.

Steelers Rumors: Pickett, Trubisky, Rudolph

One of the most common negatives attributed to Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett as a draft prospect was his hand size. While many considered the issue overblown and trivial, Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot relays that Pickett was told by multiple teams that his hand size would determine whether or not he was on their draft board.

This story is less about Pickett’s hand size and more about the fact that multiple teams threatened that he would be taken off their board altogether if his hands didn’t measure up. Specifically, Pickett says that he was told that he would be taken off some teams’ boards if his hands were not nine inches. Lo and behold, they measured up at eight and a half inches.

The teams that drafted a highly ranked quarterback not named Pickett were the Falcons, Titans, Panthers, and Commanders. It’s no guarantee that these were the teams that passed on Pickett solely because of his hand size, but they all did pass on Pickett in the first round. Where are they now?

Atlanta is attempting to move forward with their third-round pick from last year, Desmond Ridder. Ridder made four starts last year, winning two and losing two. He only averaged 177 passing yards per game while throwing two touchdowns in four games, but he had no interceptions. He’ll have to hold off former Washington starter Taylor Heinicke next year. Tennessee is still rolling with Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans drafted a quarterback in the second round this year in Will Levis who will now challenge last year’s third-round pick, Malik Willis, for the right to replace Tannehill eventually. Carolina traded for the No. 1 overall pick this year to draft a new starter in Bryce Young. Matt Coral, their third-round pick from last year, will be QB3 behind Young and Andy Dalton. Washington, like the Falcons, will try to start their fifth-round pick from last year, Sam Howell. Howell made one start last year, beating the Cowboys in the season finale while throwing for 169 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. They have veteran Jacoby Brissett as a strong backup plan.

Pickett took over as the Steelers’ starter in Week 4 of his rookie season and only missed one game after. He started 12 of 13 appearances throwing for 2,404 yards for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added 237 yards and three scores on the ground. He won Pittsburgh’s season-long quarterback competition last year and is expected to be the continued starter in a very similar-looking position room this year with the most experience of any of last year’s rookie quarterbacks. Was it worth it to pass on Pickett because of his hand size? It may be too early to tell, but even the teams sitting in a better position now than they were before the 2022 draft look better despite their quarterback choice last year. As of right now, Pickett appears to have to most potential of the second-year quarterbacks, aside from maybe Brock Purdy.

Here are some other rumors surrounding the Steelers’ quarterbacks:

  • Neither Mason Rudolph nor Mitchell Trubisky were expected to return to the Steelers this offseason. Trubisky was pleasantly surprised after not expecting to be brought back but says it was an “easy decision” to return, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rudolph didn’t intend to return, feeling he was treated unfairly last season. He even asserts that he had offers from other teams this offseason. Ultimately, after rookie minicamps concluded, nothing materialized into a new deal and Rudolph wanted to be with a team by the start of organized team activities. He opted to remain in Pittsburgh as opposed to starting fresh somewhere new.
  • Dulac provided us with some new details on Trubisky’s new contract, as well. The $8MM that Trubisky was reported to be making this year is composed of the veteran minimum salary of $1.08MM and a signing bonus of $6.92MM. Dulac adds that “it was (Trubisky’s) relationship with Pickett – and the way he put aside the disappointment of being benched early in the season – that drove the Steelers to extend” the veteran quarterback.

Steelers Re-Sign QB Mason Rudolph

MAY 17: Rudolph is officially back with the Steelers on a third contract. The sixth-year veteran put pen to paper Wednesday and will rejoin Pickett and Trubisky in Pittsburgh’s quarterback room.

MAY 15: Not only are the Steelers retaining supplanted starter Mitch Trubisky, they are set to bring back Mason Rudolph as well. The longtime Ben Roethlisberger backup is expected to re-sign with the team, Brooke Pryor of tweets.

Rumored to be headed elsewhere earlier this offseason, Rudolph is on track to play a sixth season in Pittsburgh. The former third-round pick drifted to the Steelers’ third-string option after Kenny Pickett‘s early emergence, but the team still values the veteran’s presence.

This deal may not be across the goal line yet, with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler indicating (via Twitter) it will be contingent on boxes being checked on an upcoming visit. The signing is still expected, however. Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan first reported the Rudolph-Steelers agreement (Twitter link). Rudolph’s visit is scheduled for Tuesday, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets, noting the longtime Steeler intends to re-sign at that point.

While a January rumor pointed to Rudolph aiming to land elsewhere — likely with the goal of returning to a QB2 role — the Steelers kept him on their radar. The Oklahoma State product is settling for another year as a third-stringer. Trubisky began last season as Pittsburgh’s starter but was quickly usurped by Pickett, who is now the team’s unquestioned QB1. Rudolph hovered in the background as this process played out, finishing a contract he signed when the team’s depth chart remained Roethlisberger-Rudolph.

The Steelers extended Rudolph during the 2021 offseason, pushing his contract through 2022. Trade rumors encircled Rudolph ahead of Pickett’s first season, but the Steelers hung onto their veteran reserve arm. While Tua Tagovailoa‘s concussions overshadowed other QBs’ head injuries last year, Pickett sustained two as a rookie. Ensuring multiple veterans are in place makes sense for the Steelers, though Trubisky’s status may be worth monitoring as well.

Trubisky signed a two-year deal worth $14.3MM in 2022. The contract carries a second-year cap hit of $10.6MM. GM Omar Khan said the team wants to have Trubisky around for the long haul, but it should be expected the former No. 2 overall pick will want to at least attempt to become a bridge-starter option elsewhere. An injury to a team’s starter or backup could prompt trade inquiries, should the Steelers follow through with this Rudolph reunion. Trubisky is set to earn $8MM in base salary this season. The Steelers also have rookie UDFA Tanner Morgan on the roster, but the Minnesota alum now profiles as a camp arm/potential practice squad body.

Rudolph, 27, served as Roethlisberger’s backup during the final years of the future Hall of Famer’s career. When Big Ben’s elbow injury knocked him out in Week 2 of the 2019 season, Rudolph stepped in as Pittsburgh’s primary starter. That stretch did not go particularly well, with Devlin Hodges also earning starts, and involved the infamous Myles Garrett helmet strike. Rudolph remained in the organization’s plans once Roethlisberger re-emerged in 2020 and started a game apiece during the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Overall, Rudolph has 10 starts on his NFL resume. He is a career 61.5% passer (6.2 yards per attempt) who holds a 16-11 TD-INT ratio.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Rudolph, Ravens

The Bengals will have some important financial decisions to make in the coming months. Quarterback Joe Burrow is eyeing a sizable pay day on his first NFL extension, but the organization will also have to make important decisions on wideout Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson.

Naturally, the front office is hoping they’ll be able to retain their entire core. Speaking to reporters the other day, Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn stated that the organization would like to re-sign all of their notable extension-eligible players, and she added that Burrow’s impending contract shouldn’t impact the status of players like Higgins or Wilson.

“They’re all great guys that we love having and want to have for a while on our team,” she said (via Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer). “So just a process that always plays out how it plays out however it plays out we’ll be looking at all of the options and alternatives and thinking about what we might be able to get done.”

Wilson, a 2020 third-round pick, has emerged as one of Cincy’s most reliable defenders. He’s started all 28 of his regular season appearances over the past two years, collecting 223 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles. Considering the organization’s eventual investment in their offense, it makes sense that they’d want to retain one of their defensive leaders.

Meanwhile, many have wondered if the Bengals will be able to afford both Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, who is eligible for an extension next offseason. Blackburn noted that the front office has time on their side as they look to fit in extensions for their key players, but she also hinted that the team’s ability to re-sign the two wide receivers will be dependent on the players themselves.

“We’ll find out,” Blackburn responded when asked if the Bengals could afford both receivers. “You know it, there are so many things that come into play. So, we’ll just play it by ear as we go and do our best to see where we can get to.”

More notes out of the AFC North…

  • The Steelers have Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky atop their quarterbacks depth chart, but the front office could continue to add to the position. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, the organization would like to add a developmental quarterback to the mix. As the writer notes, that QB would likely be added via the draft, although he notes that the organization could choose to bring back Mason Rudolph, who is still only 27.
  • The Ravens are currently armed with the 22nd pick in the draft, but it remains to be seen if they’ll end up making a selection at that point in the draft. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the Ravens are probably more likely to trade back than they are to make a selection at No. 22. The Ravens only have five picks in the upcoming draft, and while the front office may state publicly that they’re fine with the lack of selections, Zrebiec opines that they’ll be hunting for more picks. General manager Eric DeCosta previously hinted that the organization could be looking to make a trade in the first round. “We’ve got five picks. We wish we had more,” the GM said (via Zrebiec). “Our goal is probably to get more along the way if we can, depending on how things fall. But we see a great opportunity for us to add some quality players and be a better football team.”
  • There have been a few coaching changes in the division. James Urban, who was previously the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach, and Craig Ver Steeg, who was Baltimore’s running backs coach, have been reassigned to senior football analyst/game-planning roles, per Zrebiec. The team also switched Keith Williams from pass game specialist to assistant wide receivers coach. Meanwhile, the Steelers announced that they’ve hired Glenn Thomas to be an offensive assistant coach. Thomas brings more than 20 years of coaching experience in both college and the NFL.