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Mason Rudolph’s Contract Extension and What it Means for His Future in Pittsburgh

Rudolph is the only Steelers QB signed past 2021.

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The theme of Thursday night was NFL quarterbacks being reunited with their college wide receivers, with three such matches being made in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. But hours before the draft kicked off, another such pairing was potentially extended.

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they had signed Mason Rudolph to a one-year, $5-million extension, tacking an additional year on to his rookie deal and giving their backup quarterback a decent raise.

The 2018 third round pick was set to make a base salary of $1.014 million next season, the final of his rookie contract. But this extension will see the former OSU record-setter average $3 million over the next two years. The deal also includes built-in incentives related to playing time, according to a report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger restructured his contract, effectively taking a pay cut, to come back for 2021 which many believe will be his final season. Fellow Pittsburgh QBs Josh Dobbs and Dwayne Haskins are also only signed through 2021, meaning that Rudolph is the only QB on the roster currently inked past this next season.

For Pittsburgh, this deal locks up Rudolph as a backup for an aging and oft-injured Big Ben. For Rudolph, this means he will still have the opportunity to prove himself as a potential successor at QB1. It also shows that the franchise still has confidence in his abilities, at least as a competent No. 2.

Rudolph is 5-5 as an NFL starter, with all but one of those coming in 2019 when Roethlisberger was injured. He started the regular season finale in 2020, as Roethlisberger sat. In 15 career games Rudolph has thrown for 2,089 yards, completed 61.7 percent of his passes and has thrown 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Rudolph was take with the 76th pick in the third round of the 2018 draft, one round after his college receiver James Washington. Washington is going into the final year of his rookie contract.

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