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La Canfora Believes Any Deal With Diontae Johnson Would Come Down To The WR, But ‘They Have A History Of Getting These Things Done’

Diontae Johnson

If the Pittsburgh Steelers like you, more likely than not, they’re going to find a way to keep you. There aren’t a ton of important players who were at or near the top of the market when they left the team and then went on to excel in other cities. More often than not, if they let you go, it’s because they were willing to do without you.

How do the Steelers feel about Diontae Johnson? How do they feel about potentially doing without him beginning in 2023? Because that scenario becomes very likely if they don’t work out a contract extension over the course of the next 10 weeks or so. And the wide receiver market has skyrocketed, with Terry McLaurin the latest to punch past the $20 million per year mark.

It certainly makes things interesting for Omar Khan”, CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora said on the Poni and Mueller Show on 93.7 The Fan. “They generally find a way to keep guys they want to keep, and he’s certainly someone who they would want to have around. But I would also point out, they’re pretty damn good at finding receivers in a lot of different ways”.

Khan is, of course, the Steelers’ new general manager, but he’s also been their lead contract negotiator for the past two decades, so this isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory. He has negotiated some huge contracts in the past 12 months, including one for Minkah Fitzpatrick just weeks ago.

But could they get another huge contract done this offseason, with Johnson, as he enters the final year of his rookie contract? La Canfora believes that will be down more to the wide receiver than to the team in terms of what he is open to.

“I think it’s gonna depend on him. Where is his head?”, he said “What does he think about injury risk? What does he think about bird in hand versus what tomorrow could bring? They have a history of getting these things done, and getting them done in a way that generally doesn’t handcuff the team”.

The question really is how high the Steelers are willing to go, and what they believe their prospects are at the position over the next 36 months. They still have Chase Claypool, and they just drafted George Pickens and Calvin Austin III. Do they want to see how those three develop over the course of the 2022 season?

If they take the wait and see approach, then they would have to think long and hard about how serious they are about Johnson, and whether or not they would place a tag on him to be able to negotiate with him outside of the open market, which is a steep price tag.

For a team that has been generally as good at drafting and developing wide receivers as the Steelers have been—Johnson included—is Johnson the transcendent talent you throw the bag at? What is his full potential outside of the limitations of the offenses he has played in the past three years? It would be helpful to know that now, but they don’t.

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