Former Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster signed huge deal with the Patriots

Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster
Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It's been over two days since the start of the legal tampering period in the NFL, and the free agent frenzy continues. So far, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been able to retain some of their own players like Larry Ogunjobi and Damontae Kazee while signing players like CB Patrick Peterson, OG Nate Herbig, and LB Cole Holcomb. Now a former fan favorite has just found a new home.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is signing a massive three-year, $33 million deal with the New England Patriots, NFL Insider Jordan Schultz confirms. After a one-year stint with the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs, JuJu breaks the bank on his third NFL contract.

Though JuJu is coming off his best season since his second year in the NFL in 2018, this seems like an awful lot of money to pay out to a receiver who does most of his damage from the slot. Though I'm happy that Smith-Schuster finally received his big payday, this seems like an overpay by New England.

Patriots overpaid for former Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

JuJu Smith-Schuster was obviously a quality player for Kansas City this past season, and his efficiency and overall production took a big step forward. However, if we look back on the player he was during his final three seasons in Pittsburgh, things were not looking very promising.

In 2020, JuJu managed a mere 8.6 yards per reception and an unimpressive 6.5 yards per target as the Steelers primary slot receiver. This was despite being targeted a whopping 128 times, per ESPN stats. Chase Claypool, who is already starting to look like a bust prior to being traded to the Bears, was a much more efficient receiver during his rookie year in 2020.

The following season, Smith-Schuster landed on IR with a severe shoulder injury that prevented his return until the NFL playoffs. Sadly, he managed a dismal 4.6 yards per target over his five starts. This was his last sample of play in Pittsburgh.

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are obviously going to have a positive effect on anyone they work with, but I'm not convinced that JuJu will be able to maintain the same level of efficiency with an unspectacular offense led by QB Mac Jones.

Next. Steelers 2023 mock draft before free agency. dark

Obviously, the former Steelers wide receiver could prove me wrong. However, this certainly seems like an overpay out of desperation for a team that just lost their top receiver, Jakobi Meyers. No other Patriots receiver had more than 550 yards last year. We will wait and see if this bold free-agent move pays off for them.