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Steelers Never Made Official Contract Offer to Mason Rudolph



Steelers QB

The Pittsburgh Steelers revamped the quarterback room this offseason by acquiring Russell Wilson, Justin Fields and Kyle Allen. It’s the first time in 66 years that the Steelers completely gutted the QB position. There was always at least one holdover.

Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, who combined for 13 touchdowns in 2023, have all landed with new teams. Pickett was traded to Philadelphia, while Trubisky is back in Buffalo and Rudolph signed with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal.

Rudolph was a free agent last offseason, but got no significant offers and decided to return to Pittsburgh to again be the No. 3 quarterback. After Pickett was lost to a high-ankle sprain late in the season, and Trubisky struggled in two starts, the Steelers turned to Rudolph for the final three games of the regular season.

Rudolph responded with the best play of his career, completing 55 of 75 (74.3%) for 719 yards (10.5 yards per attempt) and a 118.0 quarterback rating. He led the Steelers to three straight victories and a playoff spot, before losing in the Wild Card round to the Buffalo Bills.

Despite Rudolph’s strong play down the stretch last season, there was no official contract offer on the table for Rudolph from the Steelers, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Kaboly also stated that Rudolph decided minutes after Russell Wilson signed he wasn’t coming back.

The 28-year-old Rudolph was the final member of the Steelers’ 2018 NFL Draft class that remained on the team. He spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, playing in 21 games and making 13 starts.

His most extensive playing time came in 2019, when he was the backup to Ben Roethlisberger and was thrust into a starting role when Roethlisberger was lost for the season to an elbow injury in the first half of Week 2.

Rudolph started eight games and completed 176 of 283 passes (62.2%) for 1,765 yards (6.2 yards per attempt) and an 82.0 passer rating. Rudolph dealt with two injuries of his own that forced him from action, and he was benched at one point during the season for former fourth-stringer Devlin “Duck” Hodges.

Rudolph returned to a backup role after that, making one start each behind Roethlisberger in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, he entered a three-way competition for quarterback with free agent Mitch Trubisky and first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and finished in third. He was active for just one game all season and did not make an appearance.

Rudolph’s strong 2023 season got him some offers in free agency that weren’t there last year, and he lands in a strong position to back up Levis in Tennessee. The former second-round pick had an up-and-down rookie season, and is positioned to be a potential future long-term starter, but is less proven than many other first-rank starters.