4 Steelers entering a make-or-break season in 2023

Steelers, Diontae Johnson
Steelers, Diontae Johnson / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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1. Diontae Johnson

Finally, we get to the elephant in the room. Diontae Johnson's career has been a rollercoaster. When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a two-year, $36.7 million extension last offseason, I don't think they had any idea how inefficient he would be.

Johnson still managed 147 targets in 2022. This was the third year in a row that he has been targeted at least 144 times in a season. However, the results were hard to stomach. Despite all of his looks, Johnson turned his opportunities into just 882 receiving yards. His catch percentage (58.5 percent) and yards per reception (10.3) were both career lows, per ESPN stats.

Johnson broke a record for being the only player with as many targets to never catch a touchdown pass, and his 6.0 yards per target were among the worst of all starting receivers last year. All of these numbers equated to quarterbacks having a dismal 58.8 passer rating when targeting Johnson in 2022.

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Johnson is the biggest make-or-break candidate for the Steelers. Next year, he is scheduled to have a $3 million roster bonus and Pittsburgh could save $10 million by releasing him during the 2024 offseason. He needs to be much better and much more consistent than the frustrating player we all witnessed last season.