Fri, Mar 19, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster decided to take less money to re-sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. The sought-after receiver had a more lucrative offer from the Philadelphia Eagles but ultimately decided to remain with the only team for which he has played during his NFL career.
According to Smith-Schuster, he also had decent offers from the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs. The deal from the Eagles was for multiple years, while the contract he signed with Pittsburgh is for just one year.
After signing the one-year deal, Smith-Schuster tweeted the following:
“Can’t say it enough, I love you Pittsburgh. Came in here a young 20 year old and you guys embraced me from the moment I got here. So much love. Had my back thru everything, all the struggles and success. So hard to leave. See you this Fall in Heinz WE’RE GOIN CRAZY!!!”
Smith-Schuster becomes just the third wide receiver in the modern era to receive a second contract from the Steelers. The other two were Antonio Brown and Hines Ward.
The deal is for $1 million in base salary and $7 million in a signing bonus. It also has four voidable years on it so the signing bonus can be spread out to benefit cap space for the Steelers.
Smith-Schuster burst onto the scene after being drafted by the Steelers in 2017. In his rookie season, Smith-Schuster caught 58 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. One of those touchdowns went for 97 yards. He was the number-two receiver behind Antonio Brown.
The following season, Smith-Schuster tallied 1,426 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also added a 13-yard rushing score.
When Brown left, Smith-Schuster ascended to the number-one spot, but it didn’t correlate with his performance on the field. He missed four games in 2019 due to injuries and played without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That year, Smith-Schuster recorded just 552 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The 2020 season was much better for the receiver, scoring a career-high nine touchdowns to go along with 831 receiving yards.
For his career, Smith-Schuster has 308 receptions for 3,726 yards and 26 touchdowns in 58 games.
Many are viewing the re-signing of Smith-Schuster as a mistake. He comes with a little bit of baggage, including his penchant for providing other teams with chalkboard material.
Prior to the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, Smith-Schuster made the following comment:
"I think they're still the same Browns that I've played every year. I think they're nameless gray faces. They have a couple of good players on their team. But at the end of the day, the Browns is the Browns."
Smith-Schuster also made waves during the season for the pre-game dances he would perform on the midfield logos of the Steelers’ opponents. He would post those dances on his TikTok account.
Despite Smith-Schuster rejoining the offense, the Steelers have a lot of question marks, including on the defensive side of the football. The 2021 season will be tough for them to make the playoffs if they continue to lose defensive players without making any upgrades.