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Steelers Hit Snag in Potential Mason Rudolph Return

It’s looking like Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will test the free agent market, even though the team wants him back.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph at practice on Dec. 28, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pittsburgh Steelers would like quarterback Mason Rudolph to return to the team in 2024, and have reached out to his representatives to start the negotiation process, general manager Omar Khan said on Thursday.

Khan said that the team has expressed its desire for Rudolph to return, but cautioned that it appears the quarterback is likely to test the open market before making a commitment.

“I’ve been in communication with his representative and he knows we want him back,” Khan said.  “We’ve told them we want him to be a part of this process. …

“He knows we want him back, we’ve had conversations. But it’s sort of just how the process goes. I can’t tell when the deal will get done, hopefully with us. But it’s just a process and I understand but we’d like to have him back.”

Khan acknowledged the likelihood that Rudolph will want to test the market, and not choose to re-sign with the Steelers before the start of the new league year.

“I think every player owes it to themselves,” he said. “I don’t know at the end of the day. It’s still a few weeks until the start of the league year. We’d like to have him back and I believe he’d like to come back and compete. He likes it here, and we’ve had a good experience with Mason.”

Rudolph is set to hit free agency after having a career-reviving 2023 season, in which he emerged as the best of the Steelers’ three quarterbacks despite spending most of the season third on the depth chart.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in a playoff game against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 15, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

After Kenny Pickett was injured and Mitch Trubisky benched for ineffectiveness, Rudolph took the reins and didn’t give them back, leading the Steelers to three straight victories to close the 2023 season and lead the club back into the playoffs.

Rudolph finished with a career-best 74.3% completion percentage and 118 passer rating in the regular season. His three-game stretch to close 2023 was the best such run for a Steelers quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury.

The Steelers have only one quarterback under contract for 2024 in Pickett after releasing Trubisky earlier this offseason. The Steelers have previously announced their intention to add “competition” to the quarterback room in addition to Pickett, but it seems likely that anyone, including Rudolph, that signs in Pittsburgh will do so with the understanding that Pickett is most likely to win the job.

RELATED: Omar Khan: Steelers Have ‘Full Faith’ in Kenny Pickett, Expect Improvement Under Arthur Smith