Proposed Trade Sees Steelers Unload Veteran to NFC Contender

Mike Tomlin

Getty The Steelers could trade QB Mason Rudolph.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could find a perfect landing spot for one of their veterans.

As mentioned by Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, a proposed trade scenario sees the Steelers unload quarterback Mason Rudolph to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. Knox argues that the season-ending injury suffered by starting quarterback Trey Lance should motivate the 49ers to look for an experienced backup to Jimmy Garoppolo.

“The 49ers have a starting-caliber quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo because they restructured his contract and kept him for the 2022 season,” says Knox. “However, San Francisco could use a veteran backup, as rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.”

Rudolph is currently the third-string quarterback behind starter Mitch Trubisky and first-round rookie Kenny Pickett. However, the Steelers have yet to trade the fifth-year quarterback.

Report: Steelers Not Interested in Rudolph Trade

According to a report from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the end of August, Pittsburgh isn’t expected to deal Rudolph — despite interest from other teams.

“Source: Steelers expect to keep Mason Rudolph and not trade him,” reported Dulac on August 29.

The idea that the Steelers want to retain Rudolph as an insurance policy makes sense considering his experience in Pittsburgh’s system. He’s the only quarterback remaining who has played in offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system. Furthermore, he holds a 5-4-1 career record as the Steelers starting quarterback.

However, as Knox notes, Pittsburgh is spending $4 million on a third-string quarterback this season. Not only is Rudolph earning more money than your typical third-string QB, his cap number is actually higher than both Trubisky and Pickett.

“Rudolph is playing on a one-year, $6 million deal, so the Steelers could get significant savings by moving a player they aren’t using,” says Knox. “The 49ers, who have $2.5 million in cap space, would have to clear space to get a deal done. However, they could use the insurance more than a Steelers team that may turn the offense over to Pickett this season anyway.”

Considering the 49ers are an NFC contender in dire need of an insurance policy, the Steelers would be wise to capitalize on San Francisco’s need for an experienced backup QB by unloading Trubisky for draft capital.

Rudolph on Possible Trade: Decision is in Steelers’ Hands

Prior to the beginning of the season, Rudolph addressed trade rumors by leaving it in the hands of Pittsburgh’s front office.

Via Noah Strackbein of Sports Illustrated:

“That’s a decision between my agent and Omar [Khan] and the front office,” Rudolph said. “I’m going to leave that up to those guys. For now, I’m on this team and I’ll do the best I can to help these guys prepare.”

While it’s true that Trubisky hasn’t been impressive in his two-game stint as starter — the Steelers have scored just two offensive touchdowns — if Pittsburgh does eventually turn away from the veteran, they’ll go with Pickett as the starter and Trubisky as the backup.

That leaves little reason for why the Steelers should retain Rudolph.

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Seamus Allison
Seamus Allison
7 days ago

Wth would we trade him for a 5th if we we’d get a compensatory 4th likely 3rd losing him on FA?

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