At some point, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will sign a new contract. As of the time of this post, however, he still hasn’t and in addition to that, there’s no signs that a new deal is on tap for Friday. Will Smith-Schuster ultimately need to settle for way less than the roughly $16 million per season market value he entered the offseason with? It’s possible, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette doesn’t believe Smith-Schuster will take that big of a hit.
“It is a little slow right now, no question, which is a little surprising,” Dulac said of Smith-Schuster’s market value in his most-recent online chat session. “I’m not sure what he was hoping to get, but it might be a little lower than expected.”
So, how much lower? Also, will Smith-Schuster ultimately need to sign a “one-year prove-it” contract somewhere and take another stab at free agency a year from now when the market for wide receivers might be better?
“Give it more time,” Dulac said in an answer to a related question in his chat. “The market is just starting and it’s a little slow. Doesn’t mean he won’t get a big offer. One thing for certain, JuJu does not need a “prove-it” contract as you suggest. He has already proven it.”
Smith-Schuster is a huge topic right now because he is still unsigned after entering free agency considered one of the top-rated at his position. Even so, it is still early and there are still a few teams with a need at wide receiver and those teams have cap space to use as well. The Indianapolis Colts are a perfect example of that. Heck, the Miami Dolphins might still be an option.
What about the New York Jets when it comes to Smith-Schuster after being linked to him quite extensively on Thursday? Since Thursday morning, the Jets have signed wide receiver Keelan Cole to go along with recently signed wide receiver Corey Davis, so it doesn’t look like Smith-Schuster is in their plans any longer. At least on the surface.
What about the possibility of Smith-Schuster returning to the Steelers? Sure, there’s still a tiny chance of that happening. That said, the Steelers would need to clear some more salary cap space to make any sort of deal with Smith-Schuster work at this point. Odds are good that if the Steelers were able to re-sign Smith-Schuster that it would be a four or five-year deal and likely less than his perceived offseason market value of $16 million per season.
I expect Smith-Schuster to be signed by Monday morning so stay tuned the next 72 hours.