Steelers website: JuJu Smith-Schuster “unlikely” to accept offer to stay

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Despite whatever disclaimers and caveats that NFL teams may apply to articles written on websites owned and operated by NFL teams, the fact remains that those websites are owned and operated by NFL teams.

This necessarily makes observations made by team employees on team-owned websites more relevant when it comes to, for example, players who will or won’t be retained in free agency.

Here’s what Bob Labriola of Steelers.com had to say about Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s status with the team: “Smith-Schuster is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 17, and despite his pronouncements on social media that he wants to continue his career with the Steelers, he’s unlikely to want to accept what the cap-strapped Steelers would be able to pay him on a new contract.”

While that hardly qualifies as earth shattering given the well-known cap issues with which the Steelers are struggling, it’s relevant to see what someone from within the team is thinking. Even though Labriola isn’t making the decisions, he has access to those who do. (Team president Art Rooney II, for example, rarely talks to any media members other than Labriola or other Steelers.com employees.)

The Steelers also have a new hammer that can be used when it comes to negotiations with Smith-Schuster, other impending free agents, or veterans who have current contracts with salaries that the team would like to trim. Now that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has slashed his 2021 compensation by $5 million (that’s 26.3 percent of the $19 million he was due to make), the Steelers can point to Roethlisberger in any negotiations with any other players as an example of the kind of sacrifice that needs to be made for the greater good.

This meshes with one of coach Mike Tomlin’s favorite sayings: “We can’t do this with hostages, man. We need volunteers.” And it works. It got Roethlisberger to take an unconditional $5 million haircut, and it surely will be used on other players.

Will it work on Smith-Schuster? Probably not, unless other teams aren’t willing to make a major, multi-year offer for a receiver who is an excellent No. 2 but not equipped to be a No. 1. But the bottom line is that getting players to put “team” above their individual bottom lines is very, very good for the team’s bottom line.

20 responses to “Steelers website: JuJu Smith-Schuster “unlikely” to accept offer to stay

  1. It’s a lot easier to ask a QB who has made over $100 million already to take a pay cut than a WR hitting free agency for the first time. It’s not Juju’s job to manage the Steeler’s cap

  2. The Steelers are a great organization and that “volunteer” philosophy is helpful.

    Alas, they haven’t been to a super bowl in 11 years and they won’t be going in February, 2022.

  3. I wouldn’t call Juju ‘an excellent No,2’. He is more a middling to below average WR2 with deeply ingrained maturity problems. He has refused to step up every time the Steelers have asked him to and seems to think his TikTok fans are more important than his Steelers fans.

  4. Feels like it makes sense for both sides to move on. Pittsburgh is really good at developing WRs and Juju will command a contract worth more than what Pittsburgh can pay him.

  5. Well, why put all the sacrifice on Juju? There are 5 other Steelers with cap hits over $14 million each. Just ask them to take a $2 mil haircut each to keep Juju.

    In fact, ask them all together. Wouldn’t that just bring out a chuckle.

  6. Guy is a solid #2, that’s all. And remember his recent distraction… he can pack up his TIC-TOC and get out often for all I care.

  7. Given their ability to scout and draft WRs, I think they’ll be a-ok letting him walk. And that hurts saying that as a Ravens fan.

  8. I am sure some silly franchise will pay him and watch his performance drop. Cut next year. Did this to himself all for the views. Remember fellas no cheese no mice.

  9. As a Steelers fan I hope they don’t resign him under any realistic circumstance. Juju is a nice player but his speed and vertical route running have disappeared the past couple of seasons. He is not the type of player you resign when you’re up against the cap. Wish him the best wherever he winds up.

  10. Steelers can’t and won’t pay him what he can get as a free agent. He would be a fool to not max out his earning potential on his second contract. NFL is a business and careers are short so get what you can while you can. As a Steeler fan I say just plug in Washington, draft someone in the later rounds to develop and move on!

  11. No matter what, I’ll remember Juju’s tko block on Cinci. Hines Ward-ish. Goo Juju

  12. He would pair up well as a #2 with D Adams in Green Bay or may with Diggs in Buffalo… Those seem like the most ideal situations as far as teams that need what he offers.

  13. Don’t lie to people. Roethlisberger didn’t take a pay cut. He got some in a signing bonus and the rest spread into an extension for next year.

    Way different the Smith-Schuster taking less money overall and a long term deal, when Roethlisberger might only stick around for two years and he’ll be catching passes from a different QB who might cost him money if they are bad or like someone else.

  14. He should walk. The Steelers have no real answer at QB and are in cap hell.

  15. Will it work on Smith-Schuster? Probably not, unless other teams aren’t willing to make a major, multi-year offer for a receiver who is an excellent No. 2 but not equipped to be a No. 1.

    Yeah but he’s going to want #1 money even though he obviously isn’t. Also there’s the behavioral things. He may have worn out his welcome in Pittsburgh and this is their way of saying they really don’t want him at any price.

  16. He ended as a complete clown show that cost his team down the stretch. No thank you.

  17. Nate Washington
    Plaxico Burress
    Manny Sanders
    Hines Ward
    Antwaan Randle El
    Mike Wallace
    Martavis Bryant
    Sammy Coates
    Antonio Brown…….

    JuJu

    Yawn.

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