Reporting to mandatory minicamp to “put in work,” Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson is trying to control what he can control in the moment, which is on his preparation for the Steelers.
However, a lot of the talk surrounding the standout receiver has to do with his next contract, which could come in the form of an extension from the Steelers, or on the open market in free agency next offseason.
Despite all the talk about his contract, Johnson — who spoke to reporters Tuesday morning ahead of mandatory minicamp practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan — doesn’t have a number in mind when it comes to his next salary and is simply focused on letting his agent do his job with the organization.
“I don’t know, to be honest, I haven’t really thought of a number,” Johnson said to reporters Tuesday, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “We talked about it plenty of times, but like I say, I try not to worry about it cuz if I continue to worry about that, it’s gonna throw off what I got going on already, which is focusing and just grinding and focusing on controlling what I can control.
“I can’t control what number they throw at me, or if they wanna sign me right now or whatever,” Johnson added. “But like I said, I can just continue to be me and go out there and represent the Steelers the best way I know how to.”
After missing the first week of voluntary OTAs at the Steelers’ facility in mid-May, Johnson showed up last week and started to put in the work. Now, ahead of mandatory minicamp he’s again in the building, avoiding a fine in the process, while giving himself ample time to get up to speed with a number of new faces under center, including Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett.
Though his comments about not having a number in mind were portrayed to the media, there’s simply no way that’s completely true, especially after seeing all the bloated contracts receivers got on the open market this offseason, which did nothing but drive his value up in the process.
Based on the average yearly salary for top receivers in the NFL right now, according to OverTheCap.com, Johnson should come in with an asking price around $20 million per year. That can seem high to some readers, and could be spent wisely elsewhere, but that’s the going rate for top-flight receivers right now.
Seeing the types of deals other receivers got on the open market definitely opened Johnson’s eyes, especially when he believes he belongs in those discussions with the receivers that were paid.
“Oh yeah, most definitely,” Johnson said to reporters when asked if he believed he was in that class. “Cuz film don’t lie and that’s all I’m gonna speak on that. I’m just gonna keep playing.”