Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will be a free agent in the 2022 offseason. After being given a one-year, $8 million deal at the start of the 2021, Smith-Schuster missed 12 games. He would reappear for the Wild Card Round, catching five passes for 26 yards in Ben Roethlisberger’s last NFL game as the Steelers lost to the Chiefs.
Smith-Schuster now will have many teams vying for his services in free agency. Here are a few possible landing spots for the dynamic receiver.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Honorable mention)
First of all, it is entirely possible that Smith-Schuster could stay with the only NFL franchise he has ever known. Pittsburgh still does not know who may be throwing him the ball, but the team has plenty of cap space (barring a huge free agent quarterback signing), and could retain his services easily. He may be wise to wait and see what the Steelers quarterback situation will be, though.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are on their way to a dynasty if Patrick Mahomes and company continues to beat up on the AFC. They also seem to have an endless amount of money and can sign whomever they please. Rest assured if the Chiefs want Smith-Schuster, they will pull another rabbit out of their hat to sign him even though Mahomes’ cap hit is going to keep ballooning to an absurd amount.
If they do add Smith-Schuster along with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and speedsters like Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle, then maybe just close the book on the AFC next year. He may have to take a slightly smaller amount to become a Chief, but it would show that his priorities favor winning a Super Bowl over a rich contract.
Los Angeles Rams
Speaking of cap space that seemingly has no end, the Rams are determined to put together a team that reads like a Pro Bowl roster, regardless of the price. In 2021 alone, they traded for Von Miller and paid Odell Beckham, Jr. The Rams do not have a single first round selection until 2024 at the earliest.
That being said, they will not hesitate to sign Smith-Schuster if they want him. Les Snead has been the most aggressive general manager in the league by a mile, and already having Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Beckham, Jr. will not stop the Rams from going after the 25-year-old.
Is it a scheme fit? How does Stafford balance targets on a team with all four of those receivers? None of that matters. The Rams will not miss their chance to add to their embarrassment of riches.
This pick is a bit more risky for the Ravens than it would be for Smith-Schuster. He missed the last 12 games of the season due to injury and Baltimore is coming off one of the most injury-riddled seasons in recent NFL history. Thus, they may be wary of an injury-prone receiver.
For Smith-Schuster, though, the fit makes perfect sense. He would be the number one wide receiver in Baltimore right away, he knows the ins and outs of the division and Lamar Jackson should be back in full form.
Featured image courtesy of Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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