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Mason Rudolph is quietly gaining leverage against the Steelers

Whether you like him or not, Mason Rudolph will receive a decent contract next offseason, from someone.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The future of the Steelers quarterback position is nothing but question marks. You may as well throw darts at a dart board when it come to making any predictions for 2022. On one hand, if Ben Roethlisberger proves he still has it he can sign another one year deal, they could shock the fan base and draft a quarterback this year, or someone completely different could be at the helm of the Steelers offense. The Steelers don’t have anyone under contract, and could have a clean slate at the position.

As we stand here today, the most likely man for the job is Mason Rudolph. Taking a look at some of the facts, we will quickly see the top free agent quarterbacks next year are 45 year old Tom Brady, Marcus Mariota who could get a new contract this year, and Jeff Driskel. As for trade targets, I suppose Matt Ryan will be available, and who knows about Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Let’s also keep in mind the Steelers aren’t likely to start a rookie on day one either. They didn't with Ben Roethlisberger, so they wouldn't do it for someone apart of the weak 2022 quarterback class. As for Dwayne Haskins, I see him as nothing more than a camp arm much like Paxton Lynch. He needs to prove he can make the team first.

For all the above reasons, I would strongly consider Rudolph to initially take the reigns from Roethlisberger. The problem is he doesn't have a contract. Let’s also remember he played very well in his previous two starts, and sitting for a year behind Roethlisberger keeps his stock moving in an upward direction. If he comes in for a clean up game at the end of the year again and preforms well, I would lock him in as the Steelers’ starting quarterback next year.

Again, this is all under the assumption Roethlisberger hangs it up after this year.

So, what do contracts for starting quarterbacks normally go for? The average contract value for the 32 highest paid quarterbacks is an average $20.8 million dollars per year. The lowest paid quarterbacks, not on their rookie deals, are Teddy Bridgewater ($21 Million), Marcus Mariota ($8.8 Million) and Nick Foles ($8 Million). But the most comparable deal is that to which of Jacoby Brisett, who went from unknown backup with a couple starts to the unquestioned starting quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. The deal went as following two years, $30,000,000 contract with the Indianapolis Colts, including a $11,000,000 signing bonus, $20,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $15,000,000.

I anticipate this is exactly what Rudolph’s camp will be looking for, and the Steelers really have no other leg to stand on. As the quarterback market has dried up around them, so has Rudolph’s future value to this team.

They actually need him, quite badly.

Unless the Steelers draft someone this year, Rudolph’s agent could probably get away with more money than $15,000,000 per year. The Steelers may even opt to use the transition tag on Rudolph as to not add anymore years to the deal. It would come at a cost of $21.7 million in 2022, but they can move on from Rudolph if he doesn't pan out.

What do you think? Does Mason Rudolph hold all the cards? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.