$5 Million Former Starter Now Listed as Potential Backup for the 49ers

Kyle Shanahan

Getty Kyle Shanahan on September 18, 2022.

“Monday morning quarterbacking” now involves wondering what the San Francisco 49ers will do about their sudden lack of quarterback depth.

The 49ers became one less a QB following the devastating Trey Lance injury, as he sustained a broken ankle early in the team’s 27-7 home win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. Per the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Monday, September 19, Lance was scheduled to undergo surgery for his fractured and dislocated ankle. Pelissero mentioned a “small bit of good news” involving Lance.

“My understanding is not a compound fracture like Dak Prescott’s,” Pelissero tweeted. “But still a season-ending injury.”

Again, the 49ers find themselves in the precarious position of addressing their QB room as they’re now left with Jimmy Garoppolo and 2022 seventh rounder Brock Purdy. Nate Sudfeld drifted off to the Detroit Lions right before the start of the 2022 season.

There are names like Ex-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and former NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton floating around as ideas. But now, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus mentioned one more name who’s been the subject of his own trade rumors.

QB is on $5 Million Deal at Current Place

Kyed helped mention this tradeable name for the 49ers: Mason Rudolph of the Pittsburg Steelers.

“The 49ers’ options include current free agents like Cam Newton and A.J. McCarron, trading for a player like Rudolph or signing a player off another team’s practice squad,” Kyed said.

But the focus here is on the 27-year-old Rudolph.

Not long ago, he had to fill in for former first rounder and legendary Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He once went 5-3 overall in place of “Big Ben” in 2019 — throwing for 13 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and had a QB rating of 82.0 that season per Pro Football Reference.

The former third rounder Rudolph was once considered to be a potential heir apparent to Roethlisberger once the two-time Super Bowl winner retired. However, Pittsburgh has since rolled with another former first rounder in Mitchell Trubisky behind center plus drafted hometown product Kenny Pickett in the first round out of the University of Pittsburgh for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Rudolph is still under contract by the Steelers after signing a one-year, $5,080,000 deal this offseason. Per Spotrac, Rudolph has a base salary of $3 million and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Could the 49ers be a Potential Fit?

Unlike Lance, Rudolph is more suited as a pocket passer. After all, the Steelers gravitated toward a pass-first offense toward the end of Roethlisberger’s career and Rudolph played in a spread offense at Oklahoma State.

But with his rather cheap value as a backup, plus past history of serving as a No. 2 to a QB who played in multiple Super Bowls, this move would make lots of sense if the 49ers choose to go the trade route. It would obvious mean giving up a mid-round draft pick or lower or a key reserve on the 49ers for Rudolph, but he’s the latest name to monitor.

Outside of Rudolph, Kyed wrote down these other names to watch for.

“They cannot sign quarterback Josh Johnson off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad since the two teams play next week, but Cleveland Browns practice squad quarterback Josh Rosen has a history in San Francisco, and the Green Bay Packers’ Danny Etling, the Seattle Seahawks’ Sean Mannion, the Minnesota Vikings’ David Blough and the New York Jets’ Chris Streveler play in similar offenses,” Kyed wrote.

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