The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Will Mason Rudolph be on the 53-man roster on opening day?
With the Steelers drafting two quarterbacks this weekend, giving them four in total, it stands to reason that one of them will not be on the 53-man roster in September. The question is, which one of them? Will it definitely be their seventh-round draft pick, Chris Oladokun? Or might it be one of the others?
It’s obviously not going to be Kenny Pickett. But could it be Mitch Trubisky? Could it be Mason Rudolph? Obviously, they just signed Trubisky as a free agent this offseason, but they ostensibly brought him in to compete for a starting job. He wasn’t seen as ‘the guy’. Pickett is ‘the guy’, whether he’s ready to be that this year or not.
Gerry Dulac said yesterday that Rudolph is more likely to be traded than to start this year. With Trubisky and Pickett on the roster, I think almost everybody agree. But how likely is he to be traded? It hinges, really, on three things.
First and foremost, they have to establish that, without him, they have not only a starter, but also a reliable backup, so that means Pickett has to show this year that he can at least be the number two guy if he’s not starting.
Second, Oladokun has to earn that job. If he’s terrible, or he looks like he’s just not yet ready to be on an NFL roster, then it’s just not happening. Finally, it comes down to compensation and cap. What could they get for him? Trading him would relieve them of his $3 million base salary, which is a little perk, but what would the difference in value be between Rudolph and Oladokun as the number three quarterback? A fifth-round pick? A sixth? They did get a fifth for Joshua Dobbs.