Former Steelers QB Mason Rudolph Finds New Home - Sport News

Former Steelers QB Mason Rudolph Finds New Home

It’s official. Veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph will not return to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024.

Mason Rudolph is still in play for a return to Pittsburgh - NBC Sports

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on March 13 that Rudolph signed a 1-year deal to join the Tennessee Titans. Garafolo tweeted that the deal is worth up to $3.62 million.

“After six seasons with the Steelers that ended on a high note with solid play down the stretch, Rudolph gets a fresh start in Tennessee,” wrote Garafolo on X (formerly Twitter).

Rudolph leaves the Steelers after six NFL seasons. In 21 appearances, he completed 63.5% of his passes for 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He went 8-4-1 as a starter.

During 2023, Rudolph recorded a 74.3% completion percentage and averaged 9.7 yards per pass. He also had 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions while posting a 3-0 record.

In Tennessee, Rudolph will join a quarterback room that includes 2023 second-rounder Will Levis and 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis.

QB Mason Rudolph Signs With Tennessee Titans

Even though Rudolph will only be 29 in July, he will essentially replace Ryan Tannehill as the elder statesman in the Titans quarterback room. Rudolph is four years older than both Levis and Willis.

A third-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Rudolph was once considered a potential heir to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. But Rudolph’s tenure in Pittsburgh was marred by misfortune.

During his second season with the Steelers, Rudolph went 5-3 in place of an injury Roethlisberger in 2019. But he mostly struggled, throwing 13 touchdowns versus 9 interceptions while averaging only 6.2 yards per pass.

The 2019 season for Rudolph also included a controversial ending in Cleveland that saw Myles Garrett swing a helmet at Rudolph’s head. The Steelers also benched Rudolph at one point in favor of Duck Hodges.

Rudolph eventually replaced Hodges but then was unable to finish the season because of injury.

After 2019, Rudolph made just two starts over the next two seasons. Then in 2022, the Steelers added Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky to the roster, burying Rudolph on the depth chart.

Rudolph finally received an opportunity to play at the end of the 2023 season. He led the Steelers to a 3-game winning streak and improbable playoff appearance as the AFC’s No. 7 seed.

Rudolph’s Contract Clear Indication Steelers Preferred Russell Wilson

Throughout the offseason, the Steelers stressed that they would have liked Rudolph to return. However, given how the dominoes have fallen early in NFL free agency, it’s hard to believe that was the case.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac speculated that the Steelers would offer Rudolph a deal similar to what Trubisky received last offseason to convince him to stay. That deal was a 2-year, $11.25 million contract.

There was some level of implication in Dulac’s speculation that if Rudolph received a better offer, he would sign elsewhere.

Instead, Rudolph signed for roughly only $2 million more than Wilson did, which was league minimum. Both quarterbacks also signed 1-year contracts.

With the deals nearly equal, it’s rather clear the Steelers definitely preferred Wilson instead of Rudolph.

With nine Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl victory, Wilson has obviously had the better career of the two signal callers. But Wilson went 11-19 as a starter the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos. He also averaged a career-low 6.9 yards per pass in 2023.

Granted, Rudolph’s 2023 success was a small sample. Based on the deal he signed, the rest of the league isn’t convinced he could sustain that success.

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