On Monday, it was reported that quarterback Mason Rudolph would be re-signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers after testing free agency. It was a move that came as a shock as many thought that Rudolph likely wanted nothing to do with Pittsburgh after the way the fans treated him and after falling to QB3 on the depth chart in 2022. Despite the shock, it is hard to argue that the re-signing is a bad move.
One person who is a fan of the move is former Steelers quarterback and current offensive coordinator of the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski joined 93.7 The Fan this afternoon and gave his thoughts on the reunion between Rudolph and the Steelers.
“I think this is mutually beneficial for both parties,” Gradkowski told 93.7 PM show hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller. “Mason tested the waters, and you see, the grass isn’t always greener. But he also realizes, ‘Look, I can go back, I know the offense, I can help, the coaches know me, they know my work ethic, they know what I bring and at the same time I know them as well.’ This can be a humbling experience for him to understand ‘I’ll go on and play my role now. I understand Kenny Pickett’s the guy, I’m going to help him the best I can.’ I do think this is an okay move for the Steelers in a sense because he knows what the expectations are in Pittsburgh, he knows the offense, he’s been around Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett, and to be a third string guy, to go in there and compete I think that’s a good move.”
Like last season, Rudolph likely won’t see any playing time this season unless the Steelers quarterback room is hit by the injury bug. Despite this, the Steelers clearly value him in ways other teams may not. Pittsburgh traditionally keeps three quarterbacks on the roster while much of the league only keeps two, and because of this Rudolph is virtually guaranteed a roster spot and a salary this season.
Yes, Pittsburgh has not treated Rudolph the best since he was drafted in 2018, but it is a place where he is comfortable with the coaching staff and organization and is place where he is going to get paid. The odds of Rudolph becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL are slim to none; there is enough tape of him playing during the regular season to comfortably say that won’t happen. There is also a reason why other teams didn’t offer him a contract.
Maybe Rudolph really did want to leave Pittsburgh for good and put this chapter of his life behind him, but he never got the opportunity. However, he decided to return to Pittsburgh to back up Pickett and Mitch Trubisky, where he can comfortably make money with an organization he knows. As Gradkowski said, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.