Steelers Detailed What Really Happened With Mason Rudolph’s Contract: “An Early Favorite To Re-Sign With The Team” - Sport News

Steelers Detailed What Really Happened With Mason Rudolph’s Contract: “An Early Favorite To Re-Sign With The Team”

The transformation of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback room from laughable to loaded was swift this offseason. It began with the signing of Russell Wilson to a one-year deal and reached new heights with the acquisition of Justin Fields via trade. However, prior to the Fields trade, Steelers fans were left wondering about Mason Rudolph’s future.

Pittsburgh Steelers Mason Rudolph

Former Steelers QB Mason Rudolph.

Amidst speculation, many assumed the Steelers might endeavor to retain Rudolph, given his commendable performance in four starts during critical junctures of the 2023 season. However, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reported that a deal was never on the verge of completion.

“Rudolph, who impressed the team with his work ethic and poise in the four-game starting stint, was an early favorite to re-sign with the team, but a deal between the two sides never got close according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Rudolph agreed to a deal with the Titans on the first day of free agency.”

Rudolph emerged as a beacon of hope for the Steelers in a season teetering on the brink of despair, particularly during their clash at home with the Cincinnati Bengals. As doubts swirled and whispers of Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s potential departure echoed, Rudolph seized the opportunity to rewrite the narrative. Against all odds, he orchestrated a stunning performance, amassing 290 passing yards and two touchdowns, igniting the Steelers to a resounding 34-11 victory just days before Christmas.

Steelers Mason Rudolph

Steelers Mason Rudolph
Kareem Elgazzar / The Enquirer / USA Today Network

Mason Rudolph keeps his eyes downfield for a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals.

While skeptics dismissed Rudolph’s initial triumph as a fluke, he defied expectations by delivering two more standout performances, guiding the Steelers into the postseason. Despite the return of a healthy Kenny Pickett, Rudolph retained his role as the starting quarterback.

Although his magic waned in the postseason encounter against the Buffalo Bills, Rudolph exhibited remarkable composure, buoying the team through adversity. Despite a sluggish start, he kept the Steelers within striking distance, ultimately succumbing 31-17 in a hard-fought battle, marking Rudolph’s final appearance in the revered black and gold jersey.

Perhaps most noteworthy during Rudolph’s tenure was the seismic shift in team dynamics. His unexpected success prompted a reevaluation of Pickett’s performance, revealing previously overlooked deficiencies. Moreover, Rudolph’s innate leadership qualities galvanized the team, fostering a newfound camaraderie.

Notably, he even elicited celebration from star receiver George Pickens, despite the absence of receiving yards—a feat once deemed implausible by Steelers faithful. Under Rudolph’s guidance, the team exhibited a renewed vigor and unity, rallying behind their quarterback with unwavering support.

While the Steelers harbored hopes of retaining Rudolph’s services, negotiations ultimately faltered, as revealed by Pryor and her sources. Despite the disappointment of his departure, Rudolph’s indelible impact on the team’s morale and performance will be remembered as a testament to his resilience and leadership on the field.

Steelers’ Great Value Quarterback Haul
Throughout the offseason, the Steelers were consistently in the spotlight as a potential landing spot for quarterbacks. The sportsbooks buzzed with speculation, with both Wilson and Fields emerging as prime candidates to don the Steelers’ jersey. As Vegas buzzed with predictions, the eventual signing of Wilson to a one-year deal with the Steelers initially seemed to quell further quarterback rumors. Yet, behind the scenes, Omar Khan was orchestrating a different narrative.

Steelers Omar Khan

Steelers Omar Khan
Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Omar Khan.

Wilson’s arrival triggered a ripple effect within the Steelers’ quarterback room. Pickett, unsettled by the acquisition, swiftly requested a trade, a request the Steelers promptly honored by shipping him off to the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to this, Rudolph had already departed in free agency, opting to join the Tennessee Titans. Expectations shifted towards the Steelers pursuing a backup quarterback with limited starting potential, or perhaps someone content to serve as Wilson’s understudy.

However, Khan recognized an opportunity in the midst of uncertainty. With Fields’ market value surprisingly lower than anticipated, the Steelers seized the chance to bolster their roster by trading for the promising young quarterback, relinquishing only a conditional sixth-round pick. In two strategic moves, the Steelers secured the services of two dynamic quarterbacks: Fields, brimming with raw talent and untapped potential, and Wilson, a seasoned veteran boasting nine Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl championship under his belt at 35 years old.

With their quarterback lineup solidified, the Steelers find themselves in an enviable position, poised for success with a blend of youth and experience at the helm. While negotiations with Rudolph ultimately fell through, the enduring support of Steeler Nation ensures that his journey will be followed with interest and cheered on from afar.

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