Steelers Could Swing Trade with NFC Contender by Deadline: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty The Steelers may trade QB Mason Rudolph by the deadline on Nov. 1.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could finally find a trade partner one of their quarterbacks.

As reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday, October 18, the Steelers are fielding “calls” for third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph. As Fowler notes, Rudolph’s best landing spot is likely for a West Coast club such as the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers.

“The Steelers always have keep three quarterbacks on the active roster, but they will field calls on third-stringer Mason Rudolph if teams show interest around the deadline,” said Fowler. “Rudolph’s best bet might be as a high-level backup for a West Coast team, such as the Rams (whose passing game coordinator, Zac Robinson, was an accomplished Oklahoma State quarterback like Rudolph) or the 49ers.”

Steelers’ Decision on Rudolph May Change Before Deadline

Rudolph has been the center of trade rumors since he lost out on the quarterback competition to Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett. While Trubisky has since been benched as the starter for Pickett, he serves as the primary backup to the rookie quarterback. Meanwhile, Rudolph hasn’t seen any action this season as the third-string quarterback.

While the Steelers are accustomed to featuring three quarterbacks on its roster, they could make an exception here based upon how things transpire over the next couple of weeks. The trade deadline is on Nov. 1, meaning Pittsburgh will play two games — at the Miami Dolphins in Week 7 and at the Philadelphia Eagles for Week 8 — before then.

If the Steelers lose those two games and drop to 2-6, it’s safe to say they’re not making the postseason and will likely be in seller mode at the deadline. However, if Pittsburgh manages to win or two of those games, they potentially enter the trade deadline as possible playoff contenders. In that scenario, it becomes likely they retain Rudolph as insurance.

Why 49ers and Rams Are Interested in Rudolph

Rudolph has been a member of the Steelers organization since he was selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. The Oklahoma State product has started 10 games during the course of his Pittsburgh career, with eight of those starts during the 2019 season. He’s gone 5-4-1 as a starter, throwing 16 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions for an 80.9 career quarterback rating.

While Rudolph is an average quarterback, he possesses starting experience for an organization that annually contends for a playoff spot. The 49ers are lacking an experienced backup with Jimmy Garoppolo stepping in as the starter once second-year QB Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury. The current backup is 2022 seventh-round draft pick Brock Purdy.

Meanwhile, the Rams do have John Wolford as their backup, who has actually started a playoff game during his career. However, he has just 42 regular season pass attempts to his name. Bryce Perkins — who has zero pass attempts to his name — serves as the third-string quarterback. In other words, it wouldn’t hurt Los Angeles to acquire an experienced backup QB as they attempt to defend their Super Bowl title after a mediocre start to the season.

If the Steelers truly want to trade Rudolph by the deadline, they’ll find a buyer. If Pittsburgh wants to contend for a playoff spot, they’ll retain the veteran quarterback.

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