While the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to do whatever it is they do, they may be doing all that without Mason Rudolph going forward. The six-year pro out of Oklahoma State has only played for the Steelers since being drafted in the third round by them in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was thought to be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger under center, but the Steelers quickly pivoted off that notion.
Frankly, it is time for Rudolph to move on. Clearly, head coach Mike Tomlin is not interested in giving him a real opportunity to start, even though he has proven to be the far better player over Kenny Pickett. With Mitch Trubisky simply cashing checks at this point, and Arthur Smith chomping at the bit for a Ryan Tannehill reunion that nobody is looking forward to, now is the time for Rudolph to leave.
Simply put, the Steelers don't make the AFC playoffs last year as the No. 7 seed without Rudolph's play down the stretch filling in for the injured Pickett. Had Tomlin gone with Trubisky or someone else over Rudolph, maybe he would be out of a job? All I know is that winning seasons streak of his probably would have bitten the dust with Rudolph filling in for Pickett. The man just needs a new start.
We are about to live in a world where the Steelers actively pick Tannehill over Rudolph in free agency.
NFL rumors: Mason Rudolph open to leaving Steelers in NFL free agency
You have to wonder what type of team could give Rudolph the chance and opportunity he has earned. My best guess is he will sign on with a team as a stop-gap starter, while the rookie first-round pick gets ready to take his job midway through next season. One of those teams should be the Steelers, but there are too many cooks in the kitchen to even think about eating at that restaurant.
If he is good with a backup job, I would say going to play for his hometown Carolina Panthers is not a bad idea. Rudolph grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina before playing his college ball for Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State. Carolina is a bad franchise, but an opportunity to play there is possible, really just one Young injury away from that happen. Of course, I think Rudolph really wants his chance to start.
Fortunately for him, there are a handful of teams across the league who could be in line for a stop-gap starter such as himself. Those teams could include the Atlanta Falcons, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first three could be looking to draft a guy, while the Buccaneers may have to find a cheaper version of Baker Mayfield in free agency yet again.
Either way, I couldn't blame Rudolph for possibly wanting to look somewhere else to play at next year.