Despite plenty of speculation that he would end up elsewhere, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will return to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The star wideout put pen to paper today, signing a one-year deal that will keep him with the Steelers for 2021. Smith-Schuster will be eligible for free agency once again next offseason with the expectation of a multi-year contract. The deal is reportedly worth $8 million for the upcoming 2021 season.
After making it official, Smith-Schuster tweets out his excitement of staying in the Steel City.
“Can’t say it enough, I love you Pittsburgh,” the wideout says in the post. “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 through everything, all the struggles and success. So hard to leave. See you this fall in Heinz (Stadium). We’re Going Crazy!”
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was one of the first to report the news of the receiver’s signing. Schefter also notes that JuJu Smith-Schuster turned down a multi-year deal with more money from another team to stay in Pittsburgh.
“JuJu Smith-Schuster also turned down more money on a multi-year deal from the Eagles than he took to return to the Steelers, per source,” Schefter says. “The Eagles were a secret suitor. But Smith-Schuster loved Pittsburgh and its fans too much to leave.”
Moments later, Schefter clarifies his stance saying the Philadelphia Eagles did not “court” the receiver.
“In this case, JuJu Smith-Schuster’s agent called the Eagles to gauge their interest; those were the discussions,” he says. “The Eagles did not wind up courting him. JuJu back to Pittsburgh, which was what he wanted.”
Since being drafted out of USC in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, JuJu Smith-Schuster has become a fan favorite in Pittsburg. The receiver had a solid 2020 season, catching 96 passes from quarterback Ben Rothlisberger. He also hauled in nine touchdown passes during the season.
Before the signing, the Steelers had only $4 million of cap space and will now have to find a way to cut other costs. That could mean seeing a veteran player or two leave town.