Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: QB Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Up
No, this doesn’t have anything to do with him having allegedly found a quarantine buddy, even if you may see some of Pittsburgh’s local papers actually covering this story in their sports section. Mason Rudolph’s stock is up because the Steelers’ draft, and the way it unfolded, showed that the front office wasn’t just paying lip service to their level of comfort in him as their number two quarterback.
Granted, perhaps things would have been different if, say, they never traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and ended up with a top-10 pick. Maybe they’re in position to draft Tua Tagovailoa and they pull the trigger. But the Steelers haven’t picked inside the top 10 in literally decades.
Instead, they held the 49th-overall pick as their earliest, and despite that, there were still names of note on the board. Jalen Hurts was there to be picked. They didn’t, instead taking the 11th wide receiver off the board, and the Philadelphia Eagles would draft Hurts instead a short time later.
Meanwhile, Jameis Winston just signed with the New Orleans Saints with a cap hit of $1.1 million. There are no valid reports out there suggesting that the Steelers ever had any serious interest in him, but no matter what his agent tries to say, I’m sure he would have jumped at the chance to back up a veteran coming off elbow surgery for more than $1.1 million.
Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, and Art Rooney II have all said at different points of the offseason that they haven’t really explored nor felt the need to explore the veteran backup quarterback market, because they are comfortable with what they have at the position behind Ben Roethlisberger, helmed by Rudolph, but also including Devlin Hodges and Paxton Lynch.
A lot of people may disagree with Pittsburgh’s approach. That’s not the point. The point is that the front office’s actions, or rather inactions, have made it clear that they were sincere when they claimed to be comfortable with their third-year arm.