Where else can the Steelers find a quarterback?
Probably the most pertinent issue and reason for giving Rudolph the shot is how the Steelers are positioned heading into this offseason. Had this team bottomed out and been in a position to land a franchise quarterback in the draft, then despite the late-season heroics from Rudolph, the plan should have been a quarterback. That won’t be the case.
Pittsburgh will be picking in the early to mid-20s at this point. If they want to land an actual upgrade in a prospect in the draft, it will cost a fortune, as the Steelers will likely need to move up into the top 12 to have a shot at a top name. That will be costly, and with so many other needs, it really isn’t feasible.
The team could stand pat and take a quarterback with their natural top pick. That would likely be a prospect such as Bo Nix, and he is built in a similar mold to what the team has in Pickett (higher floor, lower ceiling). Unless the Steelers are willing to mortgage their future to land a top name, the quarterback is hard to see as a realistic draft path.
Free agency has some potential names that could fit the bill, but there is a lot of risk tied into these guys. Kirk Cousins is the unquestioned top name, but he is coming off a severe injury, is older, and will cost a fortune to bring aboard. You could go less expensive in Baker Mayfield or Ryan Tannehill, but you are going to be facing cap issues as they still won’t come cheap. I don’t believe there is a free-agent name that will propel this team into Super Bowl contention, so why waste the money?
A trade would be the most plausible option, but even that doesn’t seem likely. Justin Herbert will likely not be on the move, and if he was, it would cost a considerable amount to land him. I’m slightly intrigued by Justin Fields if the price is right, but he will want a new contract sooner rather than later.
A handful of these names move the needle, but it comes at an extremely high cost. Instead, roll with Rudolph and see if he has the makings of a good quarterback. If he comes back to earth, that likely means you are in a good spot to draft a quarterback in the future.