Steelers rumors: Mason Rudolph latest, Hines Ward return, dark horse QB target

  • Steelers projected to draft Florida State QB Jordan Travis
  • Hines Ward probably won't get WR coach job
  • Pittsburgh is open to re-signing Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Steelers rumors: Pittsburgh interested in re-signing Mason Rudolph

The Steelers' most important free agent, against all odds, is probably Mason Rudolph. The 28-year-old stepped into the void left by an injured Kenny Pickett late in the season and flourished. He led the Steelers to multiple 300-yard games and helped Pittsburgh secure a spot in the NFL playoffs. He even put up a solid fight in the Steelers' Wild Card loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Owner and team president Art Rooney II expressed interest in re-signing Rudolph, despite the Steelers' early commitment to Pickett as their 2024 starter.

"Rudolph came in and showed I think what we’re capable of when we do get quality play at the quarterback position. Appreciate what Mason did. We’re interested in bringing Mason back."

That said, it's far from a guarantee. Rudolph will garner interest from other teams after his performance down the stretch. Other QB jobs will be far more winnable than the Pittsburgh gig. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic predicts that a deal in the ballpark of two years and $10 million is what it will take to keep Rudolph in the building. Of note, Mitch Trubisky is on the books for $5.25 million in guaranteed salary next season, but the Steelers can still cut him. That feels borderline inevitable.

The Steelers will need to formulate a plan early in the offseason. If the plan is to draft a quarterback in the first few rounds, a la Jordan Travis, then it makes less sense to re-sign Rudolph. On the flip side, Rudolph probably doesn't want to re-sign unless there's a real chance of winning the job. It's on Pittsburgh to convince him that it's a true open competition in training camp, despite Pickett's stature in the organization as a former first-round pick.

Rudolph has earned another chance to start next season, but unclear whether or not that opportunity will come with the Steelers.

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