Ranking Steelers top 3 options with WR Diontae Johnson
1. Steelers extend Diontae Johnson’s contract
Because of the current going rate of quality NFL wide receivers, some fans are going to disagree with this. However, I still think the best option is to try to get something worked out long-term with Diontae Johnson.
The biggest reason for doing so is because the Steelers need to make sure that Kenny Pickett succeeds. Allowing his best receiver to walk away or only giving him the tag to be around one additional season doesn’t do that.
Johnson might not be an elite receiver, but he’s a player a quarterback can pepper with targets thanks to his ability to get open and his wiggle after the catch. In the grand scheme of things, what’s an extra $4-5 million against the salary cap when we are talking about a top-5 player on the team?
I can assure you that no other Johnson-level receiver is going to be hitting the free-agent market anytime soon. At 25 years old, he’s going to be younger than nearly any player you can sign in free agency next offseason if they tried to save a few bucks and let Johnson walk. I genuinely think the best thing the Steelers can do for Pickett is to keep a young, cornerstone building block on the team who can help him in his development.
The Steelers are going to have a hard time coming up with the money to extend Diontae Johnson if that’s what they elect to do. However, they can get it done this year with a simple restructure or two. Ultimately, I still think this option makes the most sense.