JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers

Jets interested in Steelers’ free agent WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

NFL free agency is underway, and things appear to be heating up for unrestricted free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “The Jets have been having conversations” with the wide receiver.

Smith-Schuster, 24, has finished his rookie contract with the Steelers. He’s expressed interest in both returning to Pittsburgh and talking with other teams. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports the Steelers “haven’t closed the door on a return and have [remained] engaged in the situation the last few days.”

Losing Smith-Schuster, a second-round pick in the 2017 draft, would be a huge hit for the Steelers. He had a breakout 2018 season when he caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. As a result, he earned a Pro Bowl invitation. In 2020 he finished with 97 catches, 831 yards and nine touchdowns.

 

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Last week, Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola wrote that Smith-Schuster is “unlikely to want to accept what the cap-strapped Steelers would be able to pay him on a new contract.” Pittsburgh has already lowered its cap hit by $15 million by restructuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s contract recently. With the quarterback accepting a lower deal, the franchise could point to Roethlisberger’s decision to try to talk other players into doing the same.

 

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The Jets recently boosted their receiving corps by agreeing to a three-year, $37.5 million contract with former Titans wide receiver Corey Davis.

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