5 moves Steelers must make to ensure future success

Quarterback Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Quarterback Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers must re-sign their number 1 wide receiver.

JuJu may be losing some popularity by dancing while losing, yet he is still the best receiver the Steelers have. Let alone the fact that he had the best statistical start any receiver in the NFL has ever had in their career. He is the fastest in NFL history to 2,500 yards. He holds both of the longest receiving touchdowns in Steelers history. He is a great blocker and is possibly the most physical receiver in the league. His play reminds me of the likes of Steve Smith, and Hines Ward.

More importantly, he is a leader. Having a number 1 receiver who can keep a room of pass-catchers together is extremely undervalued in the NFL. The wide receiver position is the most diva-like position in football. His ability to keep things fun, while consistently putting in the work makes him the type of player that the Steelers have to go out of their way to keep in Pittsburgh. I have a sneaky feeling they won’t have to pay too much for him, as his stats did take a dip this season.

I do think the brand he has built as a social media influencer, and gamer has given a viable amount of income that is substantial enough for him to consider a lower contract than his on the field talent would garner. A lot of teams in the league may view it as a distraction, but Pittsburgh offers him a fanbase that loves him and the freedoms to continue to build his brand and supplement his income.

I believe that JuJu values what a personal brand can do for an athlete after their career is over and for him to have that platform playing for the largest fanbase in the NFL is a little bit of an incentive to stay in the Steel City. Imagine if Ryan Shazier had built a brand to the level that JuJu has to this point, I am sure I wasn’t the only one wondering what he would be able to do in the long-term after losing his career, and very nearly his ability to walk, in a matter of seconds. I’m glad that Shazier is great now, he gave up so much for this fanbase and I’m not saying he needed that brand. Yet, had he built up a brand to this level he would’ve been better off and I certainly wish the best for all of my Steelers.

I think that JuJu will make himself affordable for Pittsburgh and the Steelers have to start locking down more receivers to long-term contracts so that they can stop using so many 2nd and 3rd round draft picks on receivers every year. The rest of their offensive roster is aging, while they boast one of the youngest receiving cores in the league. They need to start balancing the age on the roster to make it more sustainable for the long term. They will not be able to do that if they continuously have to spend valuable second and third-round draft picks on receivers as they have done in 5 of their last 7 drafts.