The Steelers have not yet made an offer to receiver Diontae Johnson, Aditi Kinkhabwala of 93.7 The Fan reports. But Johnson is participating in the team’s mandatory minicamp this week anyway after working during the voluntary organized team activities last week.
“I’m just here to work, do what I’m told and get the job done. That’s pretty much my focus,” Johnson said in video from the team.
Johnson, 25, enters the final year of his four-year rookie deal scheduled to make $2.79 million for his final season. Chase Claypool becomes eligible for a contract extension after the 2022 season, so the Steelers could have a decision to make between the receivers after receiver contracts skyrocketed this offseason.
In 2012, the Steelers went through something similar. Receiver Mike Wallace rejected a five-year, $50 million contract from the Steelers, and they instead signed Antonio Brown to a five-year, $42.5 million deal later that summer.
Johnson said he will “hope for the best.”
“If the contract comes this year, it comes. If it don’t, it don’t,” he said. “I’m just ready to play football.”
The Dolphins made Tyreek Hill the highest-paid wide receiver this offseason with a deal that averages $30 million per year with $52.5 million fully guaranteed. Davante Adams received a deal worth $28 million per year with $22.7 million fully guaranteed after the trade to the Raiders.
Ten receivers now have deals that average more than $20 million a season, including seven that signed this offseason.
“It’s not like you don’t see it,” Johnson said. “You see it. A bell rings in your head like, such and such got this and such and such got that. I try not to look at that or pocket watch. Whoever gets the contract, they deserve it. They obviously put in the time and work. My time is going to come. Just being patient. If it comes this year, it’s a blessing. If it don’t, keep working.”
The Steelers’ policy is not to negotiate contracts once the season begins, so three months remain to get an extension completed with Johnson if they have intentions of signing him to one before 2023.
Johnson, 25, earned his first Pro Bowl last season, and in three seasons, he has 254 receptions for 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns. Johnson said “film don’t lie” but insists he is patient.
“I’m not really worried about that,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on out there saying certain stuff about me, but at the end of the day, I can only move forward and control what I can control. I want to be here. I’m patient. I’m going to keep working. My agent is going to do what he do with that situation. I’m not trying to focus on that.”