Steelers should explore a reunion with former Pro Bowl wide receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster could be falling out of favor with the Patriots, and a reunion in Pittsburgh would be welcomed.
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Steelers let JuJu Smith-Schuster go after a rocky end to his 5 seasons in Pittsburgh.
His on-field production was not much of an issue for the team as he put up 5,048 yards on 323 receptions and 26 touchdowns in 63 games for the Steelers.

The off-the-field stuff became the biggest talking point among the fans and media during his time in Pittsburgh and likely contributed to the Steelers letting him walk after the 2021 season. He was a productive player but, at the time, Pittsburgh had Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool and felt comfortable letting JuJu walk and then took George Pickens in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Fast forward to 2024 and the Steelers are hurting in the receiver room. After Pickens, the team has an all-new crop of receivers after trading Diontae Johnson to Carolina this offseason.

The battle for the second wide receiver spot is between Quez Watkins, Van Jefferson, Calvin Austin, and rookie Roman Wilson. The team desperately needs to add a proven veteran as the second option to take coverage focus off of George Pickens.

Steelers should pursue their former Pro Bowl wide receiver

JuJu has had his ups and downs after leaving the Steelers but he could provide a solid presence as the second receiver in Arthur Smith's offense. He was the de facto second option in Kansas City to Travis Kelce and put up a respectable 78 catches for 933 yards and 3 touchdowns on the season. He also brought in 7 catches in Super Bowl 57, 4 of which went for first downs.

His ability to block and provide a target for the QB to gain first downs would fit well with the new-look Steelers offense. Of his 430 career receptions, 241 resulted in a first down on the play which is good for roughly 56 percent.

The downfall of a return would be his age and his injury history. He has missed time in his career for various injuries and, though he played through some things, his age will surely start to prevent him from doing that very soon.

If the Steelers really want to contend and have a new look at offense, I believe a reunion could be great for both parties if the price is right. Should he become available, either by release or being cut, the Steelers should absolutely make an attempt to bring him back and slot him in as a reliable number-two receiver in this offense.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.