Proposed Trade Sends Steelers QB to AFC Foe

Mike Tomlin

Getty Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on during a game.

As Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season closes on September 26, one team could be without its starting quarterback for a significant amount of time.

On the New England Patriots‘ final play in their 36-27 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Mac Jones attempted a pass before getting hit by defender Calais Campbell. Both players fell to the ground, but Jones reached for his ankle in pain. The pass was intercepted and Jones suffered what was believed to be a high ankle sprain. September 25 tests confirmed the injury was not season-ending, per a source of ESPN.

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According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, September 26 tests confirmed Jones suffered a “pretty severe” high ankle sprain.

Though no timetable has been given, high ankle sprains typically take six weeks to heal.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a position to help out an old foe should it come calling.

Steelers’ Mason Rudolph to Patriots Amid Mac Jones Injury?

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has been riding the pine behind backup Kenny Pickett since the start of the regular season.

Most of Steelers Nation agrees that Rudolph never proved to be of starting caliber when given the chance, but he deserves better than third-string — in a different uniform.

With Mac Jones out for an extended period, the Patriots could be putting out feelers for quarterback depth. Behind Jones on the depth chart are journeyman Brian Hoyer and rookie backup Bailey Zappe.

It might be considered a knee-jerk reaction by New England to trade a mid-round 2023 draft pick for Rudolph, but perhaps it would be a wise move. Rudolph has won games in relief of Ben Roethlisberger, and the Patriots can’t be very comfortable with Zappe being called upon should Hoyer sustain an injury or perform poorly.

Mason Rudolph Trade Rumors

The Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky at the onset of free agency in March 2022. A month later, the team selected Kenny Pickett with their first pick in the draft. The writing was on the wall for Rudolph, and immediate talk of unloading him circulated.

Nothing viable surfaced until mid-August, when 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Filliponi reported that a former NFL general manager said the Detroit Lions were interested in trading for Rudolph.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan quashed any rumors. “We really like our room,” Khan said on the August 28 episode of the “All Things Covered” podcast. “We have three starter-capable guys in that room between Mitch and Mason and Kenny. We feel there is a bright future for us with respect to that position, but time will tell. There’s still a lot of football.”

The Steelers are all too familiar with how quickly the need for a third quarterback can come into play. In 2019, Pittsburgh traded third-stringer Joshua Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars days before the start of the season. But having only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster left them in a lurch. When Ben Roethlisberger was placed on injured reserve and Rudolph was concussed versus the Ravens, they were forced to promote Devlin “Duck” Hodges off the practice squad.

And we can’t forget the 2004 season. Third on Pittsburgh’s depth chart was a fresh-faced rookie quarterback by the name of Ben Roethlisberger. Tommy Maddox injured his elbow and backup Charlie Batch his knee versus the Ravens in Week 2. Roethlisberger was forced into action and never looked back.

Given those 2019 and 2004 incidents, the Steelers will likely hold onto Mason Rudolph. Unless, of course, the Patriots present them with an offer they can’t refuse.