Sometimes a fresh start is all a player needs to revitalize their NFL career. We have seen this often in the past. Cutting the cord when things have gotten stale can often lead to new opportunities and a cleansed reputation. This could prove to be the case with long-time Steelers backup quarterback, Mason Rudolph.
According to a recent report from NFL Network, Rudolph is looking for a "fresh start" in 2024. Rudolph has been with Pittsburgh since he was drafted in the third round back in 2018. At the time, the rookie quarterback joined a crowded quarterback room that already featured star QB Ben Roethlisberger and 2017 draft pick Josh Dobbs.
Rudolph redshirted as a rookie in 2018 and he didn't step foot on the field for a meaningful NFL game until Week 2 of the 2019 season when Roethlisberger was declared out for the year with an elbow injury. Over the years, Rudolph has taken a beating -- both physically by his opponents and mentally by a taxing fanbase wanting more.
Now the veteran quarterback is an unrestricted free agent who could be looking for greener pastures in 2024... and we can understand why he's interested in exploring alternative avenues.
Nobody could blame Mason Rudolph for leaving the Steelers
Despite recording a winning record with the Steelers when called upon during his first four NFL seasons, Mason Rudolph saw just a handful of snaps from 2020 until late in the 2023 season when Mike Tomlin finally pulled the plug on the Mitch Trubisky experiment.
Though he was suddenly thrust into action, Rudolph delivered by putting up some of the best quarterback performances we have seen from a Steelers quarterback in recent years. All the while, his presence helped the team finish 3-0 down the stretch and ultimately allowed them to enter the postseason.
After things quickly stalled out in the postseason, Mike Tomlin gave a glowing endorsement for Kenny Pickett (not Mason Rudolph) in his post-season press conference -- leaving Rudolph as an afterthought.
Rudolph probably understands that he's not going to be a starting quarterback anywhere, but he has shown enough to at least be the QB2 on a different team without having to worry about getting buried on the depth chart.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have already made it a point to say that they intend to bring in more quarterback competition. Rudolph is well aware of what this means for him. Whether this person is a seasoned veteran like Ryan Tannehill or a rookie draft pick, there's potential to once again plummet in the pecking order.
Knowing that the team still believes in Kenny Pickett and that they are going to add more competition, the door is quickly closing shut for a long-time backup quarterback. Mason Rudolph has been in Pittsburgh long enough and he is anxious for a fresh start. Who could blame him?