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JuJu Smith-Schuster Re-Signs With Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster will be looking to bounce back from down years in 2019 and 2020 following a hot start to his young career.
JuJu Smith-Schuster

Free agent wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The wide fifth-year wide receiver is coming off a down year with the Steelers in their stagnant passing offense.

JuJu Smith-Schuster Signs Deal With Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster got his career off to a hot start, but slowed down in recent years. In 2019, he dealt with poor quarterback play and injuries as he racked up just 42 receptions and 552 yards in 12 games. Last year, Smith-Schuster stayed healthy but did not get many chances to make plays in Pittsburgh’s dink-and-dunk passing offense. His physical skillset and strong YAC abilities definitely were misused by the Pittsburgh offensive coaching staff.

Despite his numbers not being great in 2020, Smith-Schuster still showed the skillset of a very good wide receiver. What really jumped off the page was his dependability on third downs and in the red zone. Pretty much every time Ben Roethlisberger needed a clutch conversion on third down or in the red zone, he seemed to look Smith-Schuster’s way. He is very reliable to catch passes in traffic and hold on through big hits by secondary players or linebackers across the middle. His route tree was very limited in 2020, and that wasn’t his fault. With more creativity in play-calling, JuJu Smith-Schuster can be an elite wide receiver.

Prior to his down years in 2019 and arguably 2020, Smith-Schuster’s career kicked off hot. As a rookie, he averaged a career high 15.7 yards per catch and found the end zone seven times. 2018 was a career year, as Smith-Schuster racked up 111 receptions and 1,426 yards to go with seven more touchdowns and 67 first down conversions. There seems to be a connection between JuJu Smith-Schuster succeeding early in his career and the presence of Antonio Brown beside him. Though he is definitely a great individual receiver, Smith-Schuster undeniably had his best seasons as a number two wide receiver.

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