PFF Analyst Believes Re-Signing Of Mason Rudolph Gives Steelers Flexibility To Trade Mitch Trubisky

The reported re-signing of veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph Monday as the potential No. 3 quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers was rather surprising overall, considering the fact that Rudolph was looking for an opportunity to compete for a starting job in the offseason.

That opportunity never materialized for the former third-round pick, but the option of returning to Pittsburgh never disappeared either. Now he’s reportedly returning to the franchise he’s called home for five years. The move certainly strengthens the Steelers’ depth chart at the most important position in sports behind second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett and veteran Mitch Trubisky. For Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, the move also gives the Steelers the flexibility to potentially trade Trubisky, freeing up $8 million cap space that could allow the Steelers to make another move this offseason to shore up the roster.

“I think it will be Mitchell Trubisky’s job at the outset, but the idea of clearing up some cap room, clearing up $8 million dollars is somewhat enticing,” Spielberger said Tuesday while appearing on 93.7 The Fan’s morning show with co-hosts Adam Crowley and Dorin Dickerson. “If they think Rudolph’s a good enough backup and don’t think there’s that big of a gap between him and Trubisky…maybe they do want to clear that space and save themselves one final move this offseason.”

While Trubisky is making quite a bit of money to be a backup in the league, the Steelers and GM Omar Khan didn’t make reportedly bring back Rudolph, making the quarterback room a real strength of the team again (from a depth perspective) to all of a sudden turn around this offseason and trade away Trubisky for a draft pick or two in hopes of freeing up cap space.

Earlier this offseason, President Art Rooney II said he expected Trubisky to be the backup. Khan followed that up at the Combine stating that the franchise wants Trubisky around long-term. That could have certainly been lip service, but the Steelers very clearly feel comfortable with Trubisky behind Pickett. They’ll feel even more comfortable having the experience and familiarity of Rudolph behind the duo as well.

It certainly is enticing to open up some $8 million in cap space, but at this point in the offseason after all the moves the Steelers have made the holes they’ve addressed, what exactly would that $8 million in cap space go towards that would improve the roster, more than making up for the loss of a veteran backup quarterback that the team is quite familiar and comfortable with?

In theory, it makes sense to consider dealing a high-priced backup and saving some money, but the quarterback position is not a position to try and roll the dice with when it comes to dealing away strength. Plus, when it comes to Trubisky, trading that $8M salary would be the biggest obstacle for a move of the veteran quarterback, especially closer to the start of season and with him only being under contract through 2023, making him a rental.

Chances are the Steelers run it back with all three quarterbacks on the roster once again, providing significant comfort to the franchise each and every week at the most important position in sports.

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