Colbert Not Ruling Out Re-Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster

This time a year ago, it felt like a foregone conclusion that JuJu Smith-Schuster was going to sign elsewhere. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ poor cap situation exacerbated by pandemic made it seem likely that Smith-Schuster would price himself out of Pittsburgh. But he was hit by a cooler-than-expected market and ultimately, turned down the chance of more money to return to Pittsburgh.

Fast forward one year later and again, it feels like Smith-Schuster is on his way out the door. But Kevin Colbert made sure to leave it open.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, including our own Jonathan Heitritter, Colbert said the team would look towards bringing him back.

“JuJu had a great comeback from the shoulder injury that he suffered, he said. “And much to our surprise was available to us late in the season in the playoff game. And we commend him for doing that for putting his free agency thoughts aside and just trying to help us win a playoff game.”

Smith-Schuster suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos and was placed on IR shortly thereafter. It appeared to be a season-ending injury with the only chance of him returning being if the Steelers made a miraculous Super Bowl run. While Smith-Schuster missed the rest of the regular season, he returned to practice three days for the team’s Wild Card game and suited up for the contest against the Chiefs. He wasn’t just a decoy either, playing 52 (76%) of the offense’s snaps, catching five passes along the way.

To hear Colbert tell it, his return exceeded expectations and surprised even the organization. A thought that won’t be lost on them when it comes time to make their free agent decisions.

“We take that into account and we really give him credit for having done that. So JuJu’s been a great player for us. He’s still a young player as well. So we’ll definitely take that look.”

As Colbert noted, despite being in the league for five years, Smith-Schuster is still just 25 years old. His market is a bit hard to define. Working in his favor is his age, return from injury that proved his health, and the salary cap increasing league-wide. Working against him is the fact he still missed most of 2021 and his market last offseason, prior to getting hurt, was fairly quiet.

It makes it difficult to peg what teams will pay him this offseason. But at the least, the Steelers are professing their interest in retaining him yet again.

To Top