Why JuJu Smith-Schuster could be with the Steelers long-term
By Edward Hunt
JuJu Smith-Schuster elected to return to the Steelers in 2021, but here’s why the young receiver could be here to stay.
I know what you are thinking. Why would JuJu take less money to stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers? He could go to another city and make tens of millions of dollars per year and establish his brand in another city.
I know I, along with a lot of other Steelers media, believed that JuJu was gone. You can even find tweets of me saying that on Twitter @NFLDraftEd.
There were a couple of things that transpired that changed my mind. The first was the Steelers signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year deal. I thought when this happened that he was just positioning himself to hit free agency when the cap gets back to normal after the vaccine is rolled out and we are out of the woods with this pandemic. What I didn’t realize is maybe he wants a big contract with the Steelers.
The Steelers did something this off-season that threw me off guard. They did not draft a wide receiver on day two like they usually do. In fact, they did not draft a wide receiver in the 2021 draft.
This is far off from the way that Kevin Colbert has run things for the Steelers. He loves to draft receivers on Day Two. Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool are just a few examples. They not only have a tradition for drafting wide receivers on Day Two, but they also have a history of succeeding at it.
I thought the Steelers would draft a wide receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-year contract. My thought was they could draft one and develop him to be a starter when JuJu Smith-Schuster and maybe James Washington leave.
That made me see the perspective that the Steelers think they can sign JuJu Smith-Schuster long-term. There are reasons JuJu may want to stay too.
Juju makes a lot of money off his brand. He has an unusually large social media following even for a top receiver in a big market. I notice he is also beloved by female Steeler fans. I think if JuJu goes down as a Steeler, he will make a lot of money on his brand.
As fans, we love the story of the player that is loyal to his team. In the social media age, we might see players start to stay with the team that drafted them because the money they could make off their endorsements and social media following could outweigh the money a team could offer in free agency.
I don’t mean this for just any player, but this could be a trend for the stars. There are just some constants that we love in sports. Kobe as a Laker, Sidney Crosby as a Penguin, and Juju Smith-Schuster as a Steeler.