Plenty of players and their agents can claim this time of year, regardless of factual accuracy, that a player took less to stay with his current team. In the case of Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, it’s true.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took less to stay with the Steelers than he would have gotten from the Ravens.
Ultimately, Smith-Schuster’s decision came down to Pittsburgh and Baltimore. (The Eagles never were in it, and the Chiefs made a too-little, too-late, ultimately irrelevant push for JuJu.) He chose Pittsburgh on a one-year, $8 million deal over Baltimore on a one-year, $9 million deal with $3.5 million in incentives.
The Ravens win either way, because the Steelers had to scramble to come up with $8 million that they didn’t think they’d be spending. The final contract quite possibly will have voidable years, allowing the money to be spread over multiple seasons.
Smith-Schuster will now return to a crowded depth chart in Pittsburgh, hopeful to do enough to parlay 2021 into the open-market payday he didn’t get during his first shot at free agency.