The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.
Player: Mason Rudolph
Experience: 5 Years
Yeah, so…things could have gone better for Mason Rudolph in 2022, couldn’t they have? He entered the offseason as the potential starter to succeed Ben Roethlisberger, but it certainly didn’t end that way. At the outset, we thought that he might be competing with Dwayne Haskins for the job if the Steelers couldn’t satisfactorily address the position otherwise.
They ended up signing Mitch Trubisky in free agency with a seemingly predetermined decision to have him start at the beginning of the year. They didn’t know that they would have the opportunity to draft Kenny Pickett, but it seems they didn’t know that they would draft him if they could.
One wonders what they thought of the other quarterbacks in the class and how close they might have come to drafting one in the first or second round if another team did end up drafting Pickett. But they did draft him, and they did sign Trubisky, which left Rudolph with the scraps.
Well, not entirely. Rudolph did get most of the second-team reps with a dabbling of first-team reps, and a decent amount of playing time overall considering the other two quarterbacks in the mix were new to the team.
But it doesn’t appear as though he was ever seriously in the running to start, or even to be the backup, unless things went south for the others in question. As long as Trubisky looked decent and Pickett looked ready to dress, those were going to be your starter and backup.
Which sucks for Rudolph, who was seduced into signing a one-year contract extension in 2021 from the Steelers, who made the rare exception of offering him playing time incentives. Of course, he never saw a snap, so he never came close to seeing any incentive money.
So one with think he would be incentivized to run out the door. According to reports, it does sound like he wants to prioritize exploring his options elsewhere, but he would be open to returning to Pittsburgh as the number two if nothing else significant materializes.