If Devin Bush and Mason Rudolph were drowning in quicksand, would anybody in Pittsburgh try to save either one of them? They seem to be the two most disliked people in the city these days, with the spotlight really on Rudolph in recent months in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.
Not a single teammate for some time has said a single thing about Rudolph recently that has been particularly positive. General manager Kevin Colbert gave some soft obligatory praise for him recently. Former players, however, have been tearing him a new one, most notably Ryan Clark.
In fact, his distaste for the idea of Rudolph starting for his Steelers—which he said was tantamount to the organization saying they’re not trying to win—is so strong that, when he was asked about the possibility of the San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo being traded to them, he jumped on board as though it were a miracle cure, while taking yet another opportunity to eviscerate Rudolph:
For all I’ve said about Jimmy G, if it is Jimmy G or Mason Rudolph, you freakin’ sign me up for the Jimmy G train. I will wear a Jimmy G no. 10. We will get 10 for Jimmy; I will wear that jersey on NFL Live, and I will sing hoorah. Because one thing Jimmy G has shown us, if you surround him with the right people, he can get you to a Super Bowl, and he can get you to an NFC Championship. I don’t care where Mason Rudolph is playing. If Mason Rudolph was playing in Kansas City, they ain’t going to the championship. If Mason Rudolph was in Green Bay, they ain’t going to the championship. If Mason Rudolph played for the 1985 Bears, the New England Patriots would beat them by 47 points. Give me Jimmy G.
.@Realrclark25 on the thought of Jimmy G becoming a Steeler 😅
“If it is Jimmy G or Mason Rudolph, you sign me freakin’ up for the Jimmy G train. … I will wear that jersey on NFL Live and I will sing hoorah.” pic.twitter.com/fk6TrGFWIU
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 22, 2022
One thing is undeniably true, and that is that Garoppolo has been the quarterback of two teams that have won multiple playoff games over the past three seasons—the only two seasons of his career since becoming a full-time starter for which he was healthy. He only played in six games in 2020, but the 49ers were in the Super Bowl in 2019, and came up just short of getting back there in 2021.
In 15 starts in 2021, Garoppolo completed 301 of 441 pass attempts for 3,810 yards, averaging a very robust 8.6 yards per pass attempt, with 20 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions. In 2019, in 16 starts, he completed 329 of 476 pass attempts for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
How many people would argue that Garoppolo wouldn’t at least give the Steelers a better chance of competing in 2022? Probably not many. But at what cost, and is it worth it if it doesn’t actually bring you a title?
Can a Garoppolo-led offense really do enough to hang with the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, a healthy Baltimore Ravens or the Los Angeles Chargers, just in their own conference? What about the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC? That’s still asking a lot of a defense that is sort of in flux right now beyond your handful of blue-chip guys.