Juju Smith-Schuster tweeted a touching message Sunday to fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He’ll always be with the city of Pittsburgh, in spirit, no matter what happens in free agency. Steelers fans, likewise, will keep an eye on the Smith-Schuster situation. NFL free agency kicks off Monday at noon Eastern. That’s when contract offers can begin. Nothing becomes official until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Smith-Schuster tweeted to his 1.1 million followers:
“No matter what happens this week, if I’m back or if I’m somewhere else, just know that I will never see Pittsburgh as just 4 yrs of my life, but a part of who I am. I’ll always carry that tough, blue collar spirit for the rest of my life. I LOVE YOU PITTSBURGH #412.”
Smith-Schuster is a popular member of the Steelers. The 24-year-old is the youngest NFL receiver ever to reach 2,500 career receiving yards. He’s also the first receiver ever to score two touchdowns of at least 97 yards.
Pittsburgh selected him in the second round (62nd pick overall) in the 2017 draft. Two years later, Pittsburgh traded Antonio Brown, leaving Smith-Schuster as the team’s top receiver. In 2020, Smith-Schuster caught 97 passes for 831 yards and nine touchdowns.
According to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, the Steelers would love to keep JuJu Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh team management is in touch with the receiver’s agent. However, it remains to be seen what kind of money the young wideout can garner if he tests the free agent market.
Whether Smith-Schuster returns could rest with the team’s salary cap. Pittsburgh is $6 million under the $182.5 million cap. All teams are dealing with a lower number. Because of a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cap is about $16 million under what it was in 2019.
However, the Steelers receiver could command a salary as least as high as $12 million on the free agent market. So the team would need to rework some other contracts. The Steelers already renegotiated with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in order to free salary cap money for 2021.
The New York Jets could be eyeing Smith-Schuster. Fans on his Twitter feed pushed the Baltimore Ravens.
Either way, fans were sounding off about the Steeler receiver.
One wrote: “Thank you. For the kindness to my daughter and being one wonderful young man. You’ll be successful wherever you land.”
Another posted: “Real Steelers fans love and appreciate you JuJu. We’d like nothing more than for you to stay with us.”
There also was this: “Hope you stay JuJu! Always envisioned you being a Steeler for your whole career, hope it plays out that way. Everything you’ve done as a Steeler is much appreciated, not just on the field but your character off the field.”