5 Pittsburgh Steelers players who won’t be back in 2022
By Tommy Jaggi
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster turned down more money from the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens to stay in Pittsburgh. That’s starting to look like a mistake on his part. Though we couldn’t have predicted that he would suffer a season-ending shoulder injury, JuJu’s efficiency and production were already taking a massive hit prior to his absence from the field.
Since entering the NFL as a second-round pick back in 2017, Smith-Schuster’s yards per target have dipped steadily in each season — from 11.6 all the way down to just 4.6 this year, according to Pro Football Reference. As a result, his raw statistical production has been incredibly underwhelming.
Through the first five games of the season, JuJu earned just 129 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns. This mediocre production prior to his injury certainly didn’t help him any more marketable as he prepares for an offseason where he will once again be an unrestricted free agent.
While JuJu could elect to come back to the Steelers on a cheap one-year deal again, what incentive does he have to do so? Pittsburgh will be in a transition phase with a new quarterback. He could choose to go with the highest bidder or maybe try his luck with a one-year deal on a team that has a good offense so he can revamp his stock again.