The Pittsburgh Steelers will close out their 2022 preseason slate Sunday evening at home against the Detroit Lions. Ahead of that exhibition contest happening at Acrisure Stadium, speculation has been heavy that the Lions might be in the market for another quarterback to back up starter Jared Goff. Specifically, speculation has been heavy that the Lions might be interested in trading for Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. On Thursday, Lions head coach Dan Campbell was asked during his afternoon press conference if there is a possibility of the team bringing in another quarterback before the season starts.
“There’s always a possibility,” Campbell said. “That goes with any position. I mean, we’re still number two on the claim list. So, at the end of this, there’s nothing to say that just because somebody has made our roster that they’re staying that way. And those guys know that, they understand that.”
Campbell was smart to designate his statement for any position, and not just at quarterback. Even so, he made it sound like on Thursday that none of the quarterbacks on the team’s roster behind Goff have secured the backup spot.
“Yeah, I mean I think what we need is we need somebody to really take the reins here,” Campbell said. “I mean somebody needs to step up out of the two and I thought they both progressed last week. Now, somebody needs to step up and run this offense, play efficient, play smart, take care of the football, get us the first downs, and when we get down to the redzone, score touchdowns for us.”
The two other quarterbacks behind Goff currently are Tim Boyle and David Blough. Those two quarterbacks are a combined 55-of-81 passing for 417 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in preseason play. Sunday evening against the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium, Boyle seems poised to get the start, with Blough also seeing action in that contest at some point.
While Rudolph has played well this preseason, it seems like he’s still destined to be the team’s third-string quarterback come Week 1 of the 2022 regular season. He’s obviously heard all the trade rumors throughout the summer, and he’s seemed to handle all of that background chatter well. On Thursday, Rudolph met the media and during his session he was asked if he would welcome a trade if it meant the possibility of more playing time with another team
“I think it’s too soon to say,” Rudolph said, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “We’ve got another week. I’m going to keep doing my job each and every day, hit the field Sunday and compete.”
In a recent interview on The Pat McAfee Show, new Steelers general manager Omar Khan was asked about the possibility of the team moving a quarterback before the start of the season and we all know that the question was specifically about Rudolph.
“You take calls, but I’ll be honest with you, we don’t have any intention of trading any of those guys,” Khan said. “We really like them. There’s some decisions to be made, but I’d be surprised if anything happens down that path.”
Was that just Khan posturing a bit and thus playing a bit of poker in a national interview? It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s not like Khan was going to come right and say that he was looking to trade away Rudolph with the preseason slate not yet even underway at that point.
So, might Rudolph be giving an in-person audition to the Lions Sunday evening at Acrisure Stadium? I don’t think such a thing can be entirely ruled out right now. In fact, Rudolph could be giving a final preseason audition to multiple teams on Sunday. As Alex Kozora recently pointed out in a post, the Los Angeles Rams could be a team that’s seriously in the hunt for an experienced backup quarterback as the preseason winds down.
In case you forgot, Rudolph is slated to earn $3 million in 2022, and that’s not a huge salary for a team to take on when it comes to a backup quarterback this late in the offseason.
On Friday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will meet the media once again, and during that press conference we should find out what the team’s quarterback rotation will be for the Sunday game against Lions and if Rudolph is expected to be included in it. He very well might see the most playing time of he, Mitch Trubisky, and rookie Kenny Pickett in an effort to showcase him for a possible trade one last time. stay tuned