PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pittsburgh Steelers head into the offseason with plenty of questions. Mike Tomlin telling players he’s returning in 2024 answers their biggest one, bumping their quarterback situation to the top of the list. But if you ask around the locker room, it feels like Mason Rudolph should continue being their guy.
There is some belief the Steelers will give Kenny Pickett another opportunity in 2024 to earn the starting job and become the next franchise quarterback in Pittsburgh. His first-round status holds pretty high ground in the NFL, but his 13 touchdowns to 13 interceptions aren’t as promising.
For those who don’t look at draft stock – like the other players within the locker room – Rudolph’s time as the starter provided more optimism for the future.
“I’ve been on the Mason plane, so it wasn’t nothing I wasn’t expecting for him not to do. I kind of had high hopes of him doing what he’s been doing when he became the starter,” wide receiver Diontae Johnson said after the Bills loss. “I hope he gets the job next year, and do what he’s got to do, but he did a great job in my opinion.”
Pittsburgh’s 3-1 run to end the season came with two a few milestone moments:
- – First back-to-back 30-point games since Week 5 and Week 6 of the 2020 season.
- – The most offensive yards in a game since 2018.
- – Longest completion by air distance since 2017 by the Steelers
- – 130 yards in the first quarter against the Bengals, marking the most by a Steelers quarterback since 2018.
- – First Steelers quarterback to pass for 250 yards and two touchdowns since Ben Roethlisberger in 2021.
The Steelers will need to re-sign Rudolph and will likely compete with other teams looking for him to audition for their starting job. He signed a one-year, $1 million deal this offseason after getting little to no attention from other teams.
While money always plays a significant factor in the NFL, opportunity probably will as well. Will the Steelers tell Rudolph he can come back and be the starter in 2024?
“I’m expecting that,” running back Jaylen Warren told All Steelers. “He went out there, did his thing as we all saw. Very competitive. He put the ball in the right places when it needed to be.”