With about 72 hours remaining before the star of the 2021 league year and the free agency signing period, it sure seems very unlikely that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be able to retain many of their higher profile players now set to become unrestricted. Leading that list of higher profile players the Steelers have set to become unrestricted free agents in the coming days are wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and outside linebacker Bud Dupree. On Sunday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN updated his thoughts on both based on what he’s hearing on those two players.
“Matt Feiler and Zach Banner are also free agents who’d have to be replaced if the Steelers can’t bring them back. They are thought to have basically no chance to re-sign wide receiver Smith-Schuster or Dupree,” Fowler reported on Sunday.
Surprised? None of you should be and especially on the heels of the team not being able to place the franchise tag on either player this offseason due to cap limitations created by fallout caused by the pandemic.
Smith-Schuster sent out a social media message on Sunday essentially preparing his fans for a departure a few days from now. Will the Steelers be able to get something done with him that will fulfill his wish to stay in Pittsburgh? It’s certainly not looking good.
As for Dupree, it’s been a forgone conclusion with him for quite a while now that he will not be back in 2021. He is currently rehabbing from his torn ACL that he had surgically repaired in December and appears to be on track to be ready for the start of training camp. He’s nearly guaranteed to sign with a different team soon and the only real mystery at this point is what kind of money he’ll get.