Bold predictions: 4 Steelers who leave and 4 who return in 2022
4 Steelers who will return in 2022
2. Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Yes, this is a controversial selection, as many have him slated to be gone in 2022. That said, no one ever expected him to return in 2021 neither. That aside, now there is a second factor that will influence JuJu. His 2021 season is over because of his shoulder injury, which impacts the possibility of a trade, as JuJu’s name has been coming up in trade rumors. That won’t happen either, so what happens to JuJu after 2021?
JuJu’s contract expires as he only signed a one-year deal worth $8 million. Yes, there were other offer’s, but nothing JuJu wanted to take as they were much less than what he wanted. Considering the need for free agent receivers was not there, no one wanted to pay what he thought he could command. So he came back to the Steelers. So no matter how much they say he came back because of Big Ben, it had more to do with he is a good receiver, but not that good. Face it; it wouldn’t be the first time a receiver who thrived in Pittsburgh left only to have a mediocre career, if that, after.
However, he still could have signed with someone else at the end of this season, he just needed to put up some decent numbers, and he would have gotten a deal somewhere else, though not for as much money. That prospect blew up in his face with his shoulder injury. First, he does not get the contract he wants and only plays less than half of the 2021 season.
Despite the rumors of his leaving at the end of the season, he may come back. Why? He will no longer command the money, and many teams may pass him over after the injury. He may come to the realization it may be better to stay in Pittsburgh, where he can still thrive as opposed to fizzling out somewhere else, especially if James Washington leaves.