By the looks of it, Mason Rudolph could break Pittsburgh Steelers training camp as the team’s No. 3 quarterback. Rookie Kenny Pickett saw the field before Rudolph in Pittsburgh’s most-recent preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first-round pick continued to play stellar football.
Where does this leave Rudolph as the former third-round pick from Oklahoma State plays out his one-year, $5.08 million contract?
Having started 10 games through his first three NFL seasons, Rudolph thought he’d be given a chance to replace the recently-retired Ben Roethlisberger under center. That’s no longer a real possibility. Perhaps, a divorce makes sense for both sides.
With other teams around the NFL struggling to find depth at quarterback, there will likely be a decent market for Rudolph’s services. Below, we look at five ideal destinations.
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Atlanta Falcons add Mason Rudolph as insurance
Atlanta will roll with free-agent signing Marcus Mariota under center as the team initiates a post-Matt Ryan rebuild. Rookie second-round pick Desmond Ridder also figures into the equation. However, it remains to be seen if he’s ready should Mariota go down to injury.
Rudolph would add experience to the mix behind Mariota. And should the latter struggle in 2022, bringing in a 27-year-old signal caller to start would at least give Atlanta an opportunity to see if Rudolph could be a long-term option.
Las Vegas Raiders get reliable backup QB
It must be noted that both Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens have played pretty well through two preseason games. This could be an indication that new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is happy with his quarterback room behind Derek Carr. It must also be noted that neither of these quarterbacks has proven to be even a stopgap option should Carr go down to injury. The same thing can’t be said about Rudolph.
- Mason Rudolph stats (2019-21): 62% completion, 2,366 yards, 16 TD, 11 INT, 80.9 QB rating
A total of $5 million is not too much to pay for a high-quality backup quarterback. For Vegas, adding Mason Rudolph to the mix could be the difference between falling out of contention should Carr go down and keeping themselves afloat.
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Los Angeles Rams bring in Mason Rudolph
Concern over Matthew Stafford‘s elbow tendinitis might have been overblown initially. He was limited in training camp earlier this summer with Rams head coach Sean McVay providing no real clarity recently.
Even if Stafford is ready to go Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills (there’s no reason to believe he won’t be), getting a backup with experience makes sense. Right now, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins are vying to be QB2 in Southern California. The idea of either one taking over a starting role can’t be seen as ideal for the defending champs.
Minnesota Vikings bite the bullet with Mason Rudolph
It’s becoming more than clear that the Vikings will be a world of trouble should Kirk Cousins go down to injury. After a decent preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, former third-round pick Kellen Mond struggled big time this weekend in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Sean Mannion is not the answer, either.
Cousins has started all of two games since the end of the 2014 season. He’s proven to be reliable in that regard. Even then, it makes no sense for Minnesota to enter Week 1 with either Mond or Mannion at QB2. Rudolph would be the perfect fit here.
Dallas Cowboys get Dak Prescott legitimate backup
Through the first two preseason games, Cowboys backup Cooper Rush has looked out of his element. He’s not prepared to take over even on a stopgap basis should something happen to Dak Prescott. Given the injury issues we’ve seen surround Prescott over the past two seasons, that’s no small thing.
Being able to bring Mason Rudolph into Big D on the cheap could salvage the Cowboys’ season if something were to happen to Prescott. Obviously, that notion is worst-case scenario. In no way does this mean owner Jerry Jones and Co. shouldn’t plan for the possibility.