The Pittsburgh Steelers experienced a successful outing on the offensive side of the football Saturday night, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 32-25. As far as the QB competition is concerned, all three passers had a good showing, with each one throwing a TD pass and posting a QBR over 100.0. Mitch Trubisky started things out and completed 4-of-7 passes for 63 yards and a score while chipping in one rush for four yards. Mason Rudolph was next up and did well in his limited action, going 9-of-15 for 93 yards and a TD. Kenny Pickett closed things out and did well in his first NFL exposure, completing 13-of 15 passes for 95 yards and two TDs while adding another 16 yards on the ground.
All three QBs looked good in their first action of the preseason, making things more interesting as the team enters its final week of training camp at Latrobe and prepares for its final two preseason games. However, on Monday’s edition of The Terrible Podcast, Dave Bryan and Alex Kozora both pointed to Rudolph being in a “lame duck” situation, currently sitting behind Trubisky, who is the favorite to win the starting job as of now, with Pickett right behind him as the first-round rookie that Pittsburgh prioritized drafting this spring, and who is off to a strong start himself after Saturday night.
It’s not like Rudolph did anything wrong as he effectively moved the offense down the field and threw a beautiful pass to George Pickens for the TD in the back of the end zone. Still, being in the final year of his contact and with Trubisky and Pickett in-tow, the writing is on the wall that this is likely Rudolph’s final year in Pittsburgh.
While I would agree that it is better to have multiple capable starting options at QB compared to having none, it may be in Pittsburgh’s best interests to explore potential trade scenarios and field calls for Rudolph from other teams if they come asking on his availability. If everything pans out the way Pittsburgh hopes, Pickett will be in position to become the team’s backup QB behind Trubisky to start the season, leaving Rudolph in no man’s land outside of freak injuries to the other QBs on the depth chart.
Rudolph has had a strong camp thus far and should he continue to have a strong preseason, there is a good chance another team with the need of a quality backup QB could come calling to reinforce their room behind their starting option. This could lead to Pittsburgh netting a potential Day 3 draft selection or potentially a player swap for an offensive lineman, inside linebacker, or edge rusher to help bolster depth at areas of the team Pittsburgh needs it most.
This isn’t to say that Pittsburgh should actively be seeking to deal Rudolph away for a bag of peanuts, but rather that they should field any calls that may come in inquiring about his availability. The only way a Rudolph trade would backfire would be if both Pickett and Trubisky went down during the season, which would lead to Chris Oladokun being thrust into action. While plausible, it’s likely not probable that both would miss extended time.
GM Omar Khan has shown savviness in his first few months of holding the new position, adding the likes of Larry Ogunjobi to the roster while signing Chris Boswell, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Diontae Johnson to contract extensions before the first preseason game was played. He is actively evaluating the roster and may see Rudolph as a piece that could net an asset to improve another area of the team that would better impact their roster in 2022. Rudolph still needs to play well over the next two weeks and is still in the thick of things when it comes to the QB battle, but after Saturday night’s performance, the potential of being on the trade block shouldn’t be disregarded.
What are your thoughts on Mason Rudolph? Do you think his performance Saturday was potentially a strong audition to other teams that may inquire about his availability prior to the start of the regular season? Should Pittsburgh consider moving him if the deal would net them an asset to improve another area of need? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!