PITTSBURGH — The end of the year for the Steelers came with an unexpected four-game stretch with Mason Rudolph as the quarterback. But once given that chance, Rudolph took it and ran with it. On just a one-year deal, however, Rudolph now hits the free agency market with the chance to make some money on the open market after the solid sample size of play.
His teammates hope he returns for 2024 despite his status being up in the air for that to happen. The Steelers, in general, have to find a solution at quarterback, but Rudolph could be part of it in the room.
“I’ve been knowing how Mason plays since my rookie year, so it wasn’t nothing I wasn’t expecting for him not to do. I kind of had high hopes of him doing what he’s been doing when he became the starter,” receiver Diontae Johnson said. “Hopefully, he gets the job next year and (does) what he’s got to do, but he did a great job, in my opinion.”
For a player who 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 Mason Rudolph is not sure where this offseason will take him.
“I love the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he said. “They’ve been my only home for six years. We’ll see what happens. Like I said, it’s not really my decision. A lot of it is outside of my control. We’ll see what happens.”
The Steelers will have to make decisions on a number of free agents this offseason, as well as make a plan for the future of the quarterback position after Pickett was benched for Rudolph down the stretch run. But Jaylen Warren expects to see Rudolph back at this rate.
“I’m expecting that,” Warren said. “He went out there, did his thing as we all saw. Very competitive. He put the ball in the right places when it needed to be.”
If Rudolph comes back, he will be almost guaranteed a shot at the starting job through a training camp competition. But it remains to be seen how the market will react to Rudolph’s four-game stretch. But it could signal the end to his time in Pittsburgh.