NFL Rumors: Huge trade candidates, Baker Mayfield returning, Steelers QB uncertainty

  • Steelers keep the revolving door at QB turning
  • Baker Mayfield has earned a future with the Buccaneers
  • Davante Adams headlines 2024 offseason trade candidates

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NFL Rumors: Steelers QB revolving door brings Kenny Pickett back

On Saturday afternoon in Week 16, the Pittsburgh Steelers started their third quarterback of the season after Kenny Pickett has been out since suffering an ankle injury on Dec. 3. It was Mason Rudolph who got the nod after Mitchell Trubisky was, predictably, a tough scene for the Steelers offense. Surprisingly, though, Rudolph showed up and dominated.

Rudolph's first pass of the contest against the rival Bengals saw George Pickens take a nice crossing route 86 yards to the house for an early 7-0 lead. That set the tone for the QB and the Steelers as they ran away for a 34-11 win. For his part, the veteran backup had a phenomenal outing with 290 yards, two scores and no turnovers.

However, it appears that Rudolph is a one-and-done affair for Pittsburgh this season as they look to make a playoff push over the final two weeks of the season. NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that the Steelers expect Pickett to return after undergoing tightrope surgery for his injured ankle.

On one hand, the move is understandable. Pickett is QB as he earned in the offseason. At the same time, though, Pickett has struggled even when healthy this season. Part of that was surely a Matt Canada problem, but fans have been consistently losing faith in the young quarterback throughout the year as well. And with the momentum Rudolph seemingly provided, that's at least somewhat hard to ignore.

Pittsburgh finishes the regular season with two tough road games at Seattle and at Baltimore. That's a tough stretch for Rudolph to keep this going, but a rusty Pickett who has underperformed this season doesn't inspire a ton of confidence either. We'll have to see if this is the right move for Mike Tomlin and Co. or if it's a decision that ultimately ends their playoff hopes -- and perhaps the head coach's streak of .500-or-better seasons.