The Pittsburgh Steelers have indicated they were impressed by what Mason Rudolph did at the end of the 2023 season, but Rudolph is a free agent. It’s a two-way road for him to return to Pittsburgh, though the interest from the Steelers’ side seems constant.
But would Rudolph want to come back? In a new article by NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero, Ian Rapoport, and Mike Garafolo, they discussed the latest buzz from all the league’s quarterback situations, and made one notable comment about Rudolph.
“Rudolph, who will be a free agent next month, has indicated he’s interested in a fresh start after six seasons with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2018,” they wrote.
In multiple interviews over the last few weeks, team president Art Rooney II has maintained that the team wants Mason Rudolph back with the team.
“Mason Rudolph came in and showed what we are capable of when we do get quality play at the quarterback position,” Rooney said. “We appreciate what Mason did and we are interested in bringing Mason back.”
While Rooney expressed his belief and excitement for Kenny Pickett’s third season as the Steelers starter, Rudolph getting the endorsement from team ownership means that they believe they can be just as good with Rudolph as the starter.
“We still feel comfortable with Kenny but with that being said we can’t discount what Mason did and we can’t discount the fact that having competition will be good for everybody,” Rooney said. “Mike feels that way and we all feel that way. I say there is still more to come to see who is in the quarterback room when we start camp this summer.”
For a player that was a free agent last offseason, only to get no offers and return as the Steelers’ No. 3, the strong end of season play has likely opened up some doors to his continued employment in the NFL — and at a higher level than the veteran-minimum contract he played on in 2023.
But during his exit meetings with Tomlin and general manager Omar Khan, Rudolph said that both men expressed their interest in welcoming him back.
“Yeah, it was good. Visited with Mike T and Omar both and … it was so early, like three or four days after we played our last game, and there’s a lot neither side knows,” Rudolph said on the Ramon Foster Show in January. “I felt like they meant it when they said they’d like to have me back, and I feel like they want to do future business with me. That’s good to hear. But like you said, there are so many variables and it’s still so early, it’s still January, so who knows what will happen?”
Coming off the bench cold is tough, but Rudolph’s play inspired confidence in him from the staff. Mike Tomlin hopes they can get Rudolph back due to his level of play. He played like a fringe starting quarterback in the NFL, and that was a higher level of play than Pittsburgh had received throughout the entire se