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NFL Analyst Floats Potential Steelers Quarterback Trade

A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet rests on the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans in 2020.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 25: A helmet of the Pittsburgh Steelers rests on the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Despite quite a few trade rumors this past offseason, longtime Pittsburgh backup Mason Rudolph still remains on the Steelers' roster.

But according to NFL analyst Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, the San Francisco 49ers should put together a trade deal for Rudolph "right now."

The 49ers have a starting-caliber quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo because they restructured his contract and kept him for the 2022 season. However, San Francisco could use a veteran backup, as rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.

Enter Pittsburgh Steelers backup Mason Rudolph, who has 10 starts and a 5-4-1 record. Rudolph wouldn't oust Garoppolo from the starting role, but he's more proven quarterback insurance than Purdy.

After winning the starting QB job prior to the 2022 season, second-year quarterback Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury on Sunday. Veteran signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo — who was also the subject of trade rumors this offseason — stepped up into the QB1 role.

Brock Purdy has now moved into the primary backup spot. The Niners also signed veteran QB Kurt Benkert to the practice squad on Tuesday.

Rudolph is currently the third-string option on the Steelers' depth chart behind starter Mitch Trubisky and first-round rookie Kenny Pickett.

The question is whether the Steelers would make Rudolph available. He's a valuable backup and well versed in second-year coordinator Matt Canada's offense. However, Rudolph is also the third quarterback behind starter Mitch Trubisky and rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

Rudolph is playing on a one-year, $6 million deal, so the Steelers could get significant savings by moving a player they aren't using. The 49ers, who have $2.5 million in cap space, would have to clear space to get a deal done. However, they could use the insurance more than a Steelers team that may turn the offense over to Pickett this season anyway.

Should the Niners' go after Rudolph?