The first day of the NFL offseason training begins on Monday for several teams, and that includes the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the workout sessions are optional, a Monday report indicates that the team’s top wide receiver is not present to start the week.
According to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan, Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson did not attend the start of the Steelers’ voluntary offseason program on Monday.
Once again, these offseason training sessions are voluntary in nature, and thus it is not uncommon for veteran players around the league to miss them and especially the early ones.
With Johnson now reportedly being absent on Monday, it will be widely speculated that he chose not to show up because he is unhappy with his current contract siltation. Johnson, by the way, is now in the final year of his rookie contract that he signed in 2019 after being selected in the third round by the Steelers out of Toledo. Johnson did receive a small raise this offseason after qualifying for the NFL’s Proven Performance Escalator in his first three seasons. He is scheduled to earn $2.79 million in 2022.
Johnson is probably hoping to receive a contract extension this offseason from the Steelers that includes a new money average of around $20 million or more. It’s unclear if the Steelers intend to sign him to such a deal by Week 1, however. The team is expected to sign safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a contract extension this offseason that could result in him being the league’s highest-paid player at his position.
In his first three NFL seasons, Johnson has played in 47 regular season games on his way to registering 254 receptions for 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Once again, Johnson has done nothing wrong by not reporting on Monday for the start of team’s annual offseason training and conditioning program. The program that kicks off on April 18 is limited to strength and conditioning, meetings, and physical rehabilitation only. The team’s annual organized team activities begin on May 24. Those are also voluntary in nature, but a bigger deal just the same.
We shall see if any other players currently under contract are also absent this week like Johnson. Odds are good that Johnson isn’t the only veteran player that is skipping this week.