JuJu Smith-Schuster doesn’t even think he’ll return to Pittsburgh.
As much as Smith-Schuster has tried not to reveal his hand in free agency, even he’s losing patience with this long, extended process in Pittsburgh. The Steelers simply don’t have the money to bring back a high-end No. 2 receiver at the value Smith-Schuster wants and deserves. Unless he brings down his price tag, he’s unlikely to remain a Steeler, despite how much Ben Roethlisberger may wish that to be the case.
JuJu has served as Big Ben’s security blanket ever since Antonio Brown went AWOL. He’s a sure-handed wideout who’s willing to adapt his game to whatever an offense needs, which is why he’d thrive just about anywhere. With Randy Fichtner’s offense, he was severely limited statistically, probably bringing down his value in the process.
Still, his cap hit is likely somewhere in the $10-15 million range, even on a short-term deal.
Steelers: JuJu Smith-Schuster knows he won’t be back with Steelers
In an instagram poll, Smith-Schuster himself voted against returning to the Steelers at this juncture.
Smith-Schuster is always active on social media, so it’s not surprising that his free agency decisions are playing out on instagram. Pittsburgh fans have grown frustrated with some of Smith-Schuster’s antics, while a younger generation fully appreciates the 23-year-old growing his brand. It’s a dichotomy that doesn’t always work together in the Steel City.
JuJu has made it clear he doesn’t care about all that. In the end, he wants to be paid his worth and sign somewhere he has a chance to win. He’s previously stated he hopes that can be Pittsburgh, as he has familiarity with the city, fanbase and franchise.
Yet, as all young NFL stars eventually learn, the business side of the league is a harsh one.