Steelers News

Art Rooney II Excited To See Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins Develop And Compete For Starting QB Role This Offseason

Very rarely has an organization ever gone such a long stretch without ever having to give deep consideration to the quarterback position as the Pittsburgh Steelers have during the past 18 years with Ben Roethlisberger, who announced his retirement yesterday after 18 seasons, all in the same city.

The Steelers now turn their attention to the future of that position, and team president Art Rooney II spoke on that topic today, acknowledging that they are not taking any options off the table at this point, though he acknowledged that they do have two in-house candidates already in Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins.

Mason has a winning record as a quarterback in this league, and I think has performed well when he’s had the opportunity”, Rooney told Missi Matthews on Friday. “I talked to him after the season; I know he’s looking forward to having the opportunity to compete for the starting job. It’ll be exciting to see”.

The Steelers drafted Rudolph in the third round in 2018, and they initially viewed him as a potential heir apparent at the position. They added Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick, on the cheap a year ago as a Reserve/Future signing after Washington let him go two seasons into his career.

“Dwayne Haskins is a young quarterback with a lot of talent, so we’ll see how he develops”, Rooney offered on the third-year prospect. Haskins only dressed for the game that Roethlisberger missed due to COVID-19 in 2021. There was a report from Aditi Kinkhabwala indicating that at least some people within the team were not thrilled with how he embraced the opportunity he had, but I have not seen that report substantiated elsewhere.

Haskins is currently scheduled to be a restricted free agent, but it has already been reported that the team intends to give him an original-round restricted free agent tender, and the way the team, including Rooney on Friday, has spoken about him strongly indicates that. Any team looking to sign him would have to be willing to part with a first-round draft pick to sign him, and that is not going to happen.

It remains to be seen whether or not the team intends to re-sign Joshua Dobbs, who will be an unrestricted free agent after spending the 2021 season on the Reserve/Injured List, but it also sounds assured that they intend to bring in somebody from the outside.

Whether that comes through the draft, through free agency, or even through a trade, this person would obviously be expected to compete for the starting job at worst. Depending on how significant the signing is, his role as starter may be a foregone conclusion, though bringing in somebody of that stature is unlikely.

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