The first move the Pittsburgh Steelers made of the 2022 offseason was to agree to terms with a free agent quarterback, ultimately signing former first-rounder Mitch Trubisky to a two-year contract with a base value of $14.25 million, worth upwards of $27 million with incentives. In spite of this move, however, fifth-year veteran Mason Rudolph’s mindset hasn’t changed entering his first season following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.
“My status is finally having the ability to compete for the starting quarterback”, he told Rich Eisen when his host asked him what his status is as of today (that is, Friday) during his appearance on The Rich Eisen Show that day.
“I’m excited about it”, he added. “I think there’s a lot to be excited about. The pieces around us, we’ve bolstered the O-line, got a couple of great young receivers, a young running back who’s a workhorse. So, a lot to be excited about”.
Drafted in the third round in 2018, Rudolph has spent the majority of his four-year career as the direct backup to Roethlisberger. He got the opportunity to start eight games during the 2019 season, his second year in the league, after Roethlisberger was injured, but it was an up-and-down tenure that saw him benched in favor of college free agent rookie Devlin Hodges for a four-game stretch.
Entering the offseason, the Steelers were repeatedly asked about the quarterback position, and about Rudolph, about whom they consistently said that they would be comfortable entering the 2022 season with as the starter if necessary.
That will no longer be necessary after they signed Trubisky, who is now the favorite to be the starter, but, ostensibly, there will still be a competition for the starting job. At the moment, another former first-round draft pick, Dwayne Haskins, is the third quarterback on the roster. Haskins was the third quarterback all of last season.
Many people still expect the team to draft a quarterback in the first round next month, and the most popular possibility for them has been Malik Willis out of Liberty. Another candidate is Pitt’s own Kenny Pickett. Both quarterbacks are expected to be drafted in the first round. Carson Strong, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, and Desmond Ridder are other possible first-round options.
Since being drafted, Rudolph has played in 17 games, starting 10. He has a 5-4-1 record, going 236-for-384 for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Trubisky has started 50 of 57 career games, going 29-21 as a starter, completing 1,016 of 1,585 pass attempts for 10,652 yards with 64 touchdowns to 38 interceptions.