Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: QB Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While the Steelers organization has consistently discussed mobility as a primary trait they are seeking in their next franchise quarterback, president Art Rooney II yesterday said of current quarterback Mason Rudolph that he is “mobile enough” to run their offense.
Nobody has come under greater scrutiny in the city of Pittsburgh in recent months than has Steelers fifth-year quarterback Mason Rudolph, who is in line to start for the team during the 2022 season barring likely future developments at the position.
Pittsburgh made sure to extend his contract into 2022, including very-rare-for-them contract incentives, knowing it was a very real possibility he could be starting for them this season in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.
Even if they don’t think he is going to be their next franchise quarterback—that is to say, a long-term starter whom you won’t be perennially looking to upgrade—Art Rooney II’s recent comments about him were about as favorable a remark about the beleaguered veteran as we have heard in some time.
“I think Mason, number one, is somebody that we feel comfortable with that is excited about coming in and competing for this position this year”, he said. “He does have some mobility and has shown it from time to time. He may not fit the definition of some mobile quarterbacks out there that really rely on their legs to make a difference, but I think that he’s mobile enough to get the job done”.
He did acknowledge that there are different degrees of mobility; of course he’s not going to run around like Kyler Murray, but I think even his biggest detractors can recall that Rudolph did show some surprising pocket mobility during his brief playing time last year, and he did show a willingness to take off and run a couple of times.
So what does this mean? If it amounts to anything, I suppose, it just hearkens back to general manager Kevin Colbert’s comments, which essentially summarized that they would be fine with going into the 2022 season—and only the 2022 season for now—with Rudolph as their quarterback if they’re not able to bring in a clear upgrade through trade, free agency, or the draft.
But as we all should know, there is every possibility in the world that they do indeed bring in somebody who will at least contest Rudolph’s status as starter for 2022. The team has already said that they will have at least two more quarterbacks on the roster than there are currently, come training camp.