Despite a desire to hit free agency and land a big payday, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster ultimately returned to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a surprisingly reasonable deal. But with his new deal only for one year, he has an idea in mind for what 2022 will bring.
In a recent interview, Smith-Schuster said he blamed the limited interest in teams offering him a big deal on the lower salary cap this past offseason. He said he’s hopeful that the cap in 2022 will be much higher, giving teams the chance to offer him a deal closer to what he thinks he’s worth.
“With everything that happened this year was different with the cap being low,” Smith-Schuster said. “Next year, hopeful the cap will be so much bigger. Knowing I’ll be on the market again and every team will want to offer something with my value.”
Smith-Schuster revealed recently that he had offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and rival Baltimore Ravens. But with the Ravens out of the question in his mind and just not liking the Chiefs’ offer, he returned to the Steelers.
JuJu on one-year: "Most definitely. My value is my value. With everything that happened this year was different with the cap being low. Next year, hopeful the cap will be so much bigger. Knowing I'll be on the market again& every team will want to offer something with my value."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) June 9, 2021
Despite playing in all 16 games for the Steelers in 2020, last season was a bit of a down year for JuJu Smith-Schuster. He had 97 receptions and nine touchdowns but averaged a career-low 8.6 yards per reception.
That combined with his injuries from the previous year made the Steelers more willing to test the free agency waters than they might have otherwise.
Pittsburgh ultimately got Smith-Schuster back, but if he doesn’t return to his Pro Bowl form, he might not get a third contract with the team.
Who will JuJu Smith-Schuster play for in 2022?