The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2023.
Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, we here at BTSC thought we would do the same. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies, first year players, and those heading into free agency, we will do the same. To start, we will pair a potential free agent with a first-year player as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.
First up are quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph.
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2025 with a possible 5th-year option
Contract Details: $3,197,251 salary cap hit for 2023. Would cost the Steelers $11,510,103 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2022: 13 regular season
Games started in 2022: 12 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 804 (offense)
PFF score: 75.5 (18th of 38)
Notable stats: Pickett completed 245 of his 389 pass attempts for 2,404 yards his rookie season with the Steelers going 7–5 in games he started at quarterback. Pickett threw seven touchdown passes with nine interceptions but also added three rushing touchdowns on 55 rushing attempts for 237 yards. In Pickett’s first five games which came before the Steelers bye week, he threw two touchdowns and eight interceptions. In the final eight games in which Pickett appeared, he threw five touchdowns to only one interception.
Notes: Although the stats aren’t overly impressive for Kenny Pickett in his rookie season, his improved play as the season went on as well as his ability to score game-winning touchdowns in the final minutes in two of the three games at the end of the season helped to show that he is entrenched as the Steelers starting quarterback going into 2023.
Years with the Steelers: 5
Years in the NFL: 5
Contract Status: Free Agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with no dead money.
Games played in 2022: 0 regular season
Games started in 2022: 0 regular season
Snaps (regular season): none
PFF score: none
Notable stats: None for the 2022 regular season. In the preseason Rudolph completed 26 of 39 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. In his Steelers career, Rudolph appeared in 17 regular-season games where he completed 236 passes on 384 attempts for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Notes: After being relegated to the inactive list for all but one game this season, Rudolph did not see the field in 2022. Going from the backup for two seasons behind Ben Roethlisberger down to third string, there is little reason for Rudolph to sign back with the Steelers and should be looking for options in other places.
Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews.