Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster Rejects Division Rival, Stays in Pittsburgh

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Michael Reaves/Getty Images Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers react after Claypool's touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 22, 2020.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have seen a handful of unrestricted free agents leave town this week, but wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will not be one of them.

On Friday afternoon Smith-Schuster indicated that he will be staying in Pittsburgh—it’s a one-year contract according to Adam Schefter—by sharing the following video clip, one that Steelers players (including Cameron Heyward) have utilized before to reveal that they are remaining in Pittsburgh.

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Contract: The Numbers

According to Field Yates, NFL Insider for ESPN, Smith-Schuster’s one-year contract includes a $7 million signing bonus and $1 million base salary and four voidable years.

That means that the organization is pushing some of the financial liability into the future, much like it did with the new contract of franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which includes four voidable years to spread out the salary cap hit.

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Ravens Made a ‘Hard Push’ to Sign Smith-Schuster

Notably, Smith-Schuster appears to have had better offers from other NFL teams, including multi-year contract offers.

According to the aforementioned Schefter, the Baltimore Ravens “made a hard push to sign him and he wound up taking significantly less money to go back to the Steelers.”

In fact, if a response to a tweet from Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is any indication, Smith-Schuster had “a lot of [Ravens players] and coaches calling” him this week, encouraging him to “come to the other side.”

Yet the Ravens and Steelers weren’t the only teams who offered one-year contracts. According to Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network, the Kansas City Chiefs proffered a one-year deal with $3 million in incentives, close to the $4 million in incentives presented by Baltimore.

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s ‘Secret Suitor’

Finally, JuJu Smith-Schuster also had what Schefter described as a “secret suitor,” that being the Philadelphia Eagles, who apparently offered him a multi-year contract, though there’s no indication that the Eagles courted him as hard as, say, the Ravens.

Smith-Schuster Takes to Social Media

In the wake of the news, which was officially announced by the Steelers late on Friday afternoon, Smith-Schuster took to social media and left Steelers fans with the following messages:

Last but not least, he also replied to a “family ties” tweet from fellow Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, one that tags other players from Pittsburgh’s offense, including former Steelers fourth-string quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who recently signed a futures contract with the Los Angeles Rams.

Steelers Free Agency Scorecard

JuJu Smith-Schuster was Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of USC, and to date he has 308 career receptions for 3,726 yards and 26 touchdowns.

The rising fifth-year wide receiver is the fourth Steelers UFA who has re-signed with the team this week, following in the wake of cornerback Cameron Sutton, defensive lineman Chris Wormley and offensive tackle Zach Banner.

In the meantime, the Steelers have lost a handful of unrestricted free agents. For example, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu returned to ‘where it all started,’ inking a two-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also, slot cornerback Mike Hilton signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and offensive lineman Matt Feiler went to the Los Angeles Chargers on a three-year deal. Most notably, outside linebacker Bud Dupree departed for Nashville, signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Tennessee Titans.

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