JuJu Smith-Schuster returning to the Steelers was a shot at two Super Bowl contenders.
It’s a bad year to be a free agent wide receiver in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean jobs aren’t being filled.
After a slow start in a depressed receiver market, the seal has seemingly broken and big names that in other years might have been snatched up right away are finally finding homes for 2021.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of those receivers, but it turns out he’s not moving far. In fact, he’s not moving at all. On Friday, JuJu made the decision to come back to the Steelers on a short and cheap contract.
“JuJu Smith-Schuster is returning to Pittsburgh on a 1-year deal, taking a massive pay cut to return to his home over larger offers from divisional rivals and Super Bowl contenders to accommodate Pittsburgh’s tough cap situation,” NFL Network’s Taylor Biscotti reported on Friday. “JuJu is staying home.”
An interesting wrinkle to JuJu’s new deal is that he turned down both the Chiefs and Ravens — who were offering more money — to return to Pittsburgh.
JuJu Smith-Schuster new Steelers contract details
Smith-Schuster will make $8 million in 2021, which works as a win-win for both the Steelers and JuJu.
A one-year deal on a massive pay reduction will save the Steelers money and won’t lock them into a long-term deal that they’ll have to work around when the inevitable rebuilding begins. Ben Roethlisberger only has so many years left — perhaps only one — so not tying up future cap space is a wise move.
It’s also a massive endorsement of the Steelers Super Bowl chances. There’s seemingly no better sure-fire way to win a ring and put yourself in a payday spotlight than going to Kansas City and playing with Patrick Mahomes. That was something Smith-Schuster could have done, and for more money than what the Steelers gave him, yet he decided to return home.
That’s a clear sign of what Smith-Schuster thinks about the Steelers lockerroom and its chances to bring a Lombardi Trophy home.