Report: ‘Plan’ In Kansas City Is To Retain Upcoming Free Agent JuJu Smith-Schuster

After a season where he put up 933 yards on 78 receptions, the Kansas City Chiefs are planning on retaining wide receiver JuJu Smith Schuster, per James Palmer of NFL Media. In a tweet earlier today, Palmer said that the current thought in Kansas City is that the Chiefs are going to keep together the group of receivers who played in the Super Bowl, including Smith-Schuster who is due to hit free agency for the third time in as many years.

Smith-Schuster was integral in helping Kansas City capture their second Super Bowl in four years, as he reeled in seven of his nine targets for 53 yards, with most of that production coming late in the game. The wording of Palmer’s tweet, including that Toney is expected to be the team’s WR1 in 2023, would assume that they will let Mecole Hardman, who is also an impending free agent, hit the market.

It’s no surprise that there’s presumably mutual interest in a reunion, as Smith-Schuster has talked glowingly about Andy Reid and the offense in Kansas City. While he’s yet to experience production quite like he had in his second year in Pittsburgh, where he caught 111 balls for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, he had his best season since that 2018 performance last season, and he’s catching passes from arguably the best quarterback in football in Patrick Mahomes.

If the Chiefs’ plan comes to fruition, they’ll enter 2023 with one of the best offenses in football yet again. Travis Kelce is probably the best tight end in the game, while Toney came on well late last season after being acquired via trade from the New York Giants and Smith-Schuster is a reliable veteran, as is Marques Valdez-Scantling. Skyy Moore was a second-round pick last season, but he didn’t produce too much during the regular season so he’s a little bit of an unknown for Kansas City but if nothing else, he provides solid depth in the receiver room.

It also means that the chances of Smith-Schuster coming back to Pittsburgh would be dead. The odds were slim-to-none and closer to none, but there was some thought that the Steelers could potentially look to bring Smith-Schuster back to play the big slot role he used to in Pittsburgh while providing another veteran target for quarterback Kenny Pickett. I’m sure Smith-Schuster would much prefer playing with Mahomes, and if Kansas City wants to keep him, that’s likely where he’ll stay in 2023.

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