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Is There Still a Future for Mason Rudolph With Steelers?

With Ben Roethlisberger returning for another season, what does this mean for Mason Rudolph and the future of the QB position for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger is coming back another season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

On Wednesday, Feb 24, the Steelers released a statement from team president Art Rooney II, stating the team wants to keep Roethlisberger around for another season. 

"Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting," Rooney said. "We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to win a championship."

We both understand that the next step is to work out Ben's contract situation."

It immediately ended the debate on whether or not the Steelers should bring Roethlisberger, who's 38-years-old, back for one final run. From there, the conversation shifted to how this team will operate under their aging quarterback and what's next for the Steelers. 

It also sparked the debate on what's next for Mason Rudolph? The former third-round pick was once believed to be the successor of Big Ben, but is now looking at his fourth season as an NFL backup. 

Maybe the Steelers were hoping to be able to see more of Rudolph during his rookie contract, but unless something goes awry in 2021, it looks like the Steelers' backup will end his first NFL contract with less than 10 career starts, most of which came in a disastrous season. 

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So, do the Steelers keep Rudolph around? Well, there are two ways to look at this. One, Pittsburgh does like to have a backup quarterback they know of. Landry Jones and Charlie Batch become household names in the city of champions for spending most of their time on the sideline. 

Rudolph probably isn't looking to do the same, but he could see an opportunity to stick around after the season. For one, Roethlisberger's career should end after this year. Heading into a year at 40 doesn't seem like an ideal move for someone who's taken the beatings Big Ben has. 

The Steelers also don't have a contingency plan. If they're going to replace their Hall of Fame quarterback, they'll do so next season, which means Rudolph could return and compete for a job. 

Unless he believes he'll hit the open market with starting quarterback value (which he won't), his best shot at competing for a job will be with the Steelers. Plus, his lack of game tape during his first four seasons should leave his price tag relatively low. 

His 5-4 record as a starter (nearly 6-3) leaves room to believe he could be a winning quarterback. He'll need to straighten up his 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions ratio, but after four years in the league, if you're still throwing as many pics as you are scores, you're not earning a starting job anywhere. 

It's not the answer many fans are hoping for, but Rudolph is likely still part of the Steelers' plans. They'll consider another contract following the 2021 season and at least give him an opportunity to prove himself. And if he gets the chance this season, maybe they'll see enough to believe he's the next starting quarterback. 

Either way, it's hard to imagine a Steelers team without No. 2 next year. Maybe that's as a backup, or maybe as a starter, but either way, bet on Mason Rudolph being part of this team's plans moving forward.

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.