Juju Smith-Schuster is one of the Steelers’ most notable players. With his entertaining touchdown dances to his charity work off the field, Smith-Schuster is loved by many of his Steelers teammates and fans. Unfortunately due to the overwhelming amount of free agents the Steelers have, there is a chance he may not return to Pittsburgh in 2021.
Smith-Schuster has played four seasons with the Steelers and totaled 3,726 yards gained, 308 receptions and 26 touchdown catches. He made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has been a dynamic part of the Steelers’ offense after taking over the places of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
Long time starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has grown to love Smith-Schuster over the years. The pair built great chemistry and Roethlisberger has developed a bunch of respect for him both on and off the field. Roethlisberger admits he does not know what the future will be for Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh but will always have respect for him.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Roethlisberger said about Smith-Schuster’s future with the team according to Sports Illustrated. “He doesn’t know. I’ll always support him. I’ll always be proud of him. I think he embodies what it is to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. He’s tough. He shows grit. You saw some of the plays he made tonight. They were black and gold through and through. I hope I can speak for the fans when I would say that they don’t want him going anywhere, we don’t want him going anywhere. He’s Steelers and he’s fun. I’m just thankful for his efforts”.
Smith-Schuster will only stay in Pittsburgh if he is paid what he thinks he is worth. Last season he was overshadowed by the success from rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool. However, the duo was the explosive part of the offense that Steelers fans wants to see back in 2021.
“I’m always about winning,” Smith-Schuster said to NBC Sports. “I want to be on a team that is fighting and competing for the playoffs every year. As far as the business side and the money, I want to be paid for what I am worth. Obviously for what I do for the team particularly.”
It looks like the Steelers can only offer Smith-Schuster a $10 million deal due to their salary cap for 2021. Smith-Schuster will likely want more than the Steelers can currently offer and will leave for a team that not only can pay him well, but a team that can complete for the playoffs.
One team growing high interest in Smith-Schuster is the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders missed out of the playoffs with an 8-8 record but had a decent season overall. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a solid season with eight touchdown catches. Smith-Schuster would be a great edition to the Raiders offense with Agholor, rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs II, and tight end Darren Waller.
Another team growing interest in Smith-Schuster are the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts may be losing wide receiver T.Y Hilton to free agency after spending nine seasons in Indianapolis. With the addition of Smith-Schuster, it will give the Colts a young player with years of experience and a perfect fit on the team.
The decision whether Smith-Schuster will stay with Pittsburgh or not will come later in the offseason. The Steelers will have to make a choice if they want to pay him the money he wants with the tight salary cap or let him walk.