JuJu Smith-Schuster Says Steelers Made Offer But It ‘Wasn’t What I Was Looking For’

The bottom line is WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler. And the details as to why he’s no longer a Steeler aren’t incredibly important. But with so much discussion over whether or not Pittsburgh even tried to re-sign him, Smith-Schuster provided an important update Thursday evening.

In an Instagram Live video with NFL Network’s Taylor Biscotti, Smith-Schuster said the Steelers did make him an offer. But it wasn’t one he wanted.

While IG videos aren’t always saved, Biscotti posted the interview to her account a short time ago. She started off by asking Smith-Schuster why he signed with the Chiefs.

“It finally came down to my career and my future,” he said. “Going with the Steelers and what they offered me, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I needed to go somewhere where I could play one-year and ball. The Chiefs were obviously the best fit for me.”

While Smith-Schuster didn’t go into any further detail about what the Steelers offered, the fact he followed that up by saying he needed to go play on a one-year deal implies Pittsburgh tried to offer him a multi-year contract at an average yearly value he wasn’t satisfied with. Instead, he took the one-year deal, riddled with incentives, in the hopes of hitting those marks, playing well in 2022, and cashing in on the open market in 2023.

Essentially, it’s what Dave Bryan laid out in a tweet-thread several days ago.

As we also speculated prior to free agency, Smith-Schuster felt more willing to leave the Steelers now that QB Ben Roethlisberger retired. Last offseason, he cited Roethlisberger and WRs Coach Ike Hilliard as the two biggest reasons why he re-upped with the team for the 2021 season. Both men are no longer with the organization and now Smith-Schuster isn’t.

“Last year I stayed because I wanted to play with Ben, play with my guys for one more year.”

Unfortunately, 2021 was a wash of a year for Smith-Schuster, suffering a shoulder injury five games into the season. It required surgery and knocked him out for the rest of the year, though he returned for the team’s Wild Card game. Smith-Schuster told Biscotti he’s now at 100%.

He also cited the Chiefs continued pursuit of him as one reason why he signed with them.

“Being able to come back to a team who wants me two times in free agency just shows a lot.”

He mentioned the chance to play with Patrick Mahomes along with TE Travis Kelce, who Smith-Schuster said he’s a big fan of, were big draws to convince him to change teams.

While Smith-Schuster will be a Chief in 2022, he will be a free agent in 2023. And though the landscape will look a lot different 12 months from now, you can’t rule out the Steelers trying to bring him back next season. Especially if they find a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft.

Check out the whole conversation below, including whether or not JuJu will be making TikToks with Jackson Mahomes. A question I’m sure you’re dying to hear the answer to.

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