Steelers Rumors: Mason Rudolph Agrees to 1-Year, $5M Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Cleveland Browns defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) grabs Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's (2) jersey during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Mason Rudolph are reportedly "closing in" on a one-year contract extension that would keep the backup quarterback with the team through the 2022 season, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

On Friday, Rapoport noted the one-year deal was worth $5 million, with another $4 million in performance incentives. 

That follows starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger restructuring his 2021 salary in March, freeing up cap space for the team. As of now, Big Ben is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season, though he could also be considering retirement. 

The future of the quarterback position is one of the interesting stories brewing in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger is 39. Rudolph has proven to be a mediocre starting option in his young career, throwing for 2,089 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 61.7 percent of his passes. He's gone 5-4 in his starts and it's fair to say he isn't the long-term answer. 

So Pittsburgh could look to add a quarterback in this year's draft. Perhaps not in the first round—a player who could help immediately would make more sense for a Steelers team with a playoff roster and title aspirations—but come the second or third rounds, don't be shocked if the Steelers address that need. 

That makes players like Kyle Trask or Kellen Mond potential targets. 

Andrew Fillipponi @ThePoniExpress

Steelers legendary insider @EdBouchette says that "some in [Steelers] organization fancy Kyle Trask." I've heard the same. In fact, I've heard they have him ranked ahead of at least 1 of the perceived top 5 QBs (Lawrence, Wilson, Lance, Jones, and Fields). So stay tuned.

So why sign Rudolph for an additional year? Well, more than likely he'll be a better option as a backup for Roethlisberger this year than a rookie. And if Roethlisberger retires after the 2021 season, the Steelers could bring Rudolph back again to compete for the starting job in 2022 or serve a cheap backup who knows the system behind a younger player. 

Either way, bringing him back makes sense. Just don't be surprised if it isn't the only quarterback news in Pittsburgh this weekend.