Steelers expected to round out QB depth by signing Mason Rudolph

Steelers, Mason Rudolph
Steelers, Mason Rudolph / Justin Berl/GettyImages

When Mason Rudolph lost his role as the backup quarterback to Mitch Trubisky last season, fans were convinced that he wasn't coming back. Several within Pittsburgh Steelers media claimed that Rudolph would sign elsewhere in free agency to be the primary backup on another team. That didn't happen. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

On May 16th, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed that Rudolph had a scheduled visit with the Steelers -- potentially leading to a return to the roster for the 2023 season.

Later that evening, a source told Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan that Rudolph is indeed signing a contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While this hasn't yet been confirmed by the team, the pending return of Mason Rudolph isn't all that surprising (contrary to what some might tell you). Nearly every other team has a backup quarterback that they trust, and Rudolph didn't draw much interest during free agency.

Despite starting 8 of 10 games out of necessity in 2019 (when Ben Roethlisberger was on IR with an elbow injury), Rudolph has made just two starts since 2020. His 5-4-1 career record is, at the very least, respectable, but this can be largely attributed to having the NFL's top defense at the time he stepped onto the field.

Mason Rudolph expected to be Steelers QB3

At this point in his career, we obviously know who Mason Rudolph is. While we wouldn't dream of making him a starter, he's at least capable as a backup. Fortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he won't even have to be that.

Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada really like Mitch Trubisky in the backup role, and Omar Khan said that he plans to have Trubisky around in the future. If and when Rudolph officially signs with the Steelers, it will be as the QB3, and fans shouldn't have any problem with this.

As a former third-round pick, expectations always seemed a bit too high for Rudolph. Somehow, a large portion of the fanbase expected him to be Big Ben's successor, but judging the talent, we figured this wasn't going to be the case.

If we look at him for what he is -- a respectable backup who can fill in on short notice -- this is a player who was probably worth the draft capital used to acquire him (just not anything more). Rudolph would be a poor starter and an average-at-best backup, but as the QB3, he will be one of the better scout-team quarterbacks in the league in 2023.

Additionally, there's no doubt in my mind that Rudolph is a better option than undrafted rookie free agent, Tanner Morgan. The Minnesota product lacks size, arms talent, athletic traits, and upside while not having a bit of NFL experience at this point.

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Mason Rudolph is an unspectacular NFL quarterback overall, but he's just what the Pittsburgh Steelers need as their QB3 in 2023. Assuming this signing becomes official, Rudolph could be another voice in the locker room and on the sideline for starter Kenny Pickett.