Though it appeared Mason Rudolph's time in Pittsburgh was coming to an end, it turns out he will be returning to the Black and Gold.
Rudolph has signed a one-year deal with the Steelers, the team announced on Wednesday. The quarterback initially tested the free-agent market this offseason, and two months later ultimately decided to return to the team which drafted him in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Back then Rudolph was viewed as a possible heir to Ben Roethlisberger once the longtime starter retired, and Rudolph spent the first four years of his career backing up Roethlisberger while learning the ropes. Though he played in 17 games (10 starts) and went 5-4-1, Rudolph had struggles during his appearances, notably throwing nine interceptions in 10 games in 2019.
Heading into the 2022 season, which would mark the first without Big Ben around, he was part of an open competition with Mitch Trubisky and then-rookie Kenny Pickett for the starting spot. But despite his experience with the organization, Rudolph ultimately emerged as the third-string QB and didn't play in a single game as Trubisky and then Pickett each took the reins.
Rudolph was expected to look for a new landing spot this offseason where he could possibly fight for a bigger role, but no such news materialized. Now he and the Steelers are back in business, with Pittsburgh electing to go with a QB familiar with its offensive system rather than bring in a new face to round out its depth chart.
Pickett is entrenched as QB1 with Trubisky still viewed as a solid backup option, while Rudolph will compete with undrafted free agent Tanner Morgan of Minnesota for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.