The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Who is more likely to be in Pittsburgh in 2022—Mason Rudolph or Ben Roethlisberger?
The two years of Ben Roethlisberger’s two-year extension kick in for the 2020 season, meaning he’s under contract through 2021. Mason Rudolph’s four-year contract began in 2018. Again, that means that it runs through 2021. So which of the quarterbacks is more likely to be in Pittsburgh still after their contracts are set to expire?
Roethlisberger will be 40 years old at that time, and he has only said that he intends to honor his contract. He is currently recovering from elbow surgery on his throwing arm, as well. As for Rudolph, he has a disappointing 2019 season after being given a chance to start eight games due to Roethlisberger’s injury, which saw him benched for four games—missing two others due to injury—in favor of Devlin Hodges because he struggled.
When the Steelers drafted Rudolph in 2018, they said that they viewed him in the same class as the quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round, and that he could be a productive, winning starting quarterback. In other words, an heir apparent to Roethlisberger.
Right now there aren’t many who feel great about the chances of him being a successful starter. He has a lot of prove. Roethlisberger has nothing to prove as far as his career goes, but he does have to show that he can continue playing for the next two years. And it’s no secret that he has mulled retirement before. Prior to signing his most recent extension, he for years would only say that he would take things a year at a time.