Heading into free agency, it appeared as though Mason Rudolph was in line to be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022, based off of the comments GM Kevin Colbert had made during media sessions at the NFL’s Scouting Combine.
One day into the legal tampering period though, Colbert proved that those words should have correctly been taken with a grain of salt as the longtime GM inked veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year, $14 million deal, which could reach $27 million with incentives, all but ensuring he’ll be the starting quarterback this fall.
Another year, another obstacle in the way of Rudolph and his quest for the starting job, making him an obvious loser in free agency, according to Pro Football Focus’s Ben Linsey.
“All signs were pointing toward Rudolph getting the first opportunity to win the Steelers’ starting quarterback job in a competition with Dwayne Haskins and a rookie taken in the 2022 NFL Draft,” Linsey writes. “That rookie may still be coming, but Pittsburgh won’t be entering a competition with Rudolph as the front runner any longer. Instead, it will be Mitchell Trubisky in the QB1 slot following the two-year, $14 million deal he agreed to on the first day of the legal tampering period.
“That doesn’t mean Rudolph won’t have an opportunity. The only qualifying quarterback to earn a lower PFF grade than Trubisky from 2017 to 2020 was Sam Darnold,” Linsey added. “There’s always the chance that Trubisky is a different quarterback after stepping back for a year and working behind Josh Allen in Brian Daboll’s offense. But if that same starter we saw in Chicago comes out in training camp and the preseason, Rudolph could very well still win the job. His chances just took a big hit this week.”
Rudolph’s chances at starting certainly took a major blow this week with the signing of Trubisky, but there’s a good chance Rudolph will be the No. 2 and will be ready at a moment’s notice to go in, should Trubisky falter.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that the Steelers add a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and could potentially trade Mason Rudolph for a late-round draft pick, though that is unlikely at this point in time.
It’s a tough break for Rudolph though, who has bided his time and been as ready as possible to go at a moments notice, even when the circumstances weren’t in his favor.