PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback situation is anything but certain as it stands, but team president Art Rooney II believes there should be at least some confidence in Kenny Pickett. They hope to bring Mason Rudolph back as competition. But would that work, and how could it work?
“We need to do everything we can to get quality play out of our quarterback position going forward,” Rooney said. “We still feel good about Kenny Pickett and his future but he knows he needs to work hard to take the next step and we talked about that.”
As for Rudolph, the team believes he gave them quality quarterback play, and that showcased what the team could look like if they get that consistently. It’s part of the reason Rudolph could return to the team. But until that becomes official, they might have to look elsewhere.
“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.”
With more invested in Pickett, he is the favorite to be the starting quarterback come Week 1, but, if the team decides to bring Rudolph back, they know that they can put Rudolph into the game without much preparation and he will perform adequately.
After replacing a struggling Mitch Trubisky, who replaced an injured Pickett, Rudolph guided the Steelers to three straight victories to close the regular season and helped them clinch a Wild Card birth. While Rooney stated that the team would like to re-sign Rudolph, his four-game stretch transformed his free-agency market which means the team may face steeper competition to bring the 28-year-old back.
With the Steelers having stated that they intend to have Pickett battle in camp with another quarterback, whether that is Rudolph or a different player, Pickett’s third NFL season will determine his future in Pittsburgh. After next season, the team will have to decide whether or not to exercise Pickett’s fifth-year option which will determine if he becomes a free agent following the 2025 season or the 2026 season.
Alan Saunders provided reporting from Pittsburgh