The Steelers struck a huge deal with Johnson to keep him around, and absolutely no one can be upset with this new deal.
The Steelers and new GM Omar Khan have been very busy this offseason, as they have now reached large extensions with three players. The newest, and least likely one to get done on paper, was Diontae Johnson’s new deal. To say the least, Pittsburgh got an absolute steal.
Johnson’s contract talks were the focus of a lot of the offseason program for the team. Minkah Fitzpatrick’s new deal and even Chris Boswell’s seemed like locks to get done. Johnson was a different story, as his play was good but had inconsistencies. On top of this, the receiver market absolutely blew up this offseason.
Initially, most people had a Johnson extension coming in between 15-17 million. After a slew of new deals, that number was seen as closer to 20 million based on what the market was demanding. After a player like Terry McLaurin got paid, it seemed like a new deal for Johnson would have to come in close 23 million a season.
The Steelers got an absolute steal
Instead, the initial reports have Johnson earning just over 18 million a season over the next two years. For a player of his caliber and in a market as hot as this one, that is a bargain. Johnson overcame a lot of his demons last season, and even though he closed the year worse than he began, he is easily the best receiver on this roster as of this writing.
Khan has been crushing it as the new GM for the Steelers, and this deal is just another example of that. Johnson is coming in well below market value, which makes this a win for the team. Sure, odds are Khan and the team held a potential franchise tag over Johnson’s head, but they still got him signed for far less than anyone was expecting.
As for Johnson’s side of things, one has to wonder why he signed this deal. The market seemed to indicate that he was worth a lot more than this, so the discount is puzzling. One has to wonder if there are any hidden incentives in this deal. If not, Johnson should really be looking for a new agent.
That said, he will benefit from being the top target on the team and only being signed for two more seasons. He will have another chance to land a mega contract then, and odds are the receiver market will continue to stay hot. He is sacrificing some money upfront, but this shouldn’t result in him not getting a big deal down the road.
Overall, this is a great deal for the Steelers with almost no downside. The team retains their top receiver on a generous deal. While it being so short could be a negative thing down the road, it also protects the team in case Johnson regresses. All in all, this deal was a home run for the organization.