3 surprise cuts the Steelers could make by Week 1

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a tumultuous offseason, in which they lost future Hall-of-Fame QB Ben Roethlisberger. It’s time to turn the page.

Pittsburgh opens their season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. The defending AFC Champion Bengals will be a tough out this year. But before the Steelers can even think about their season-opener, some tough decisions lie ahead.

Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers signed Mitchell Trubisky and drafted Pitt product Kenny Pickett in the first round. Mason Rudolph also remains. A tough quarterback battle in training camp is almost guaranteed to leave one player relegated to free agency, or perhaps another roster altogether.

A slightly revamped offensive line will play a key role in determining just how effective the Steelers’ offense can be in Year 2 under Matt Canada, while the defense remains steady behind T.J. Watt. Cam Heyward and recently-extended Minkah Fitzpatrick.

But not everyone currently on the roster can come along for the ride.

Steelers surprise cuts: QB Mason Rudolph

Once deemed a potential protege to Roethlisberger, Rudolph hasn’t lived up to the billing. It was always an unfair comparison, as Rudolph was far from a top selection, and Big Ben didn’t exactly take him under his wing.

Roethlisberger was thrown aback that the Steelers would select any quarterback, even Rudolph with a mid-round pick, while he was still on the roster. So, let’s just say the two didn’t necessarily get along, and Ben didn’t serve as a mentor as the Steelers intended.

In limited action, Rudolph has looked like a solid backup at times, but that’s his limit. It’s why Pittsburgh signed Trubisky and drafted Pickett. And it’s why Rudolph was recently demoted to third string despite solid preseason play — Mike Tomlin has seen this before.

Rudolph will either be traded or released. If the market value isn’t high enough to obtain some draft capital, expect the Steelers to cut him loose.