Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is still on the market five days into free agency, but he may be running out of options.
While remaining available, some of his likeliest suitors, such as the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, have already addressed their needs at wide receiver.
Not only did the Jets sign former Titan Corey Davis to a three-year, $37.5 million deal earlier this week, but they also added former Jaguar Keelan Cole on Thursday.
Former Jaguars’ WR Keelan Cole to the Jets on a one-year, $5.5 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2021
As for the Miami, they signed former Houston burner Will Fuller to a one-year deal Thursday.
In addition, Arizona signed A.J. Green and Washington added Curtis Samuel. Buffalo agreed to terms with Emmanuel Sanders.
Clubs are adding wide receivers, but Smith-Schuster has glaringly not been one of them.
Why does the 24-year-old remain unsigned? It could simply be coming down to money.
Smith-Schuster expressed a desire to continue his career in Pittsburgh over recent months, but also acknowledged his desire to be payed what he believes he has earned.
Given the Steelers’ dire salary cap situation, it became clear to everyone that Smith-Schuster’s pay day would have to come elsewhere.
Unfortunately for Smith-Schuster, there appears to be a disconnect between how he values himself and how he is perceived league-wide.
While he likely wants a multi-year, lucrative deal, many clubs, including the Dolphins with Fuller and Jets with Cole, are opting instead for one-year contracts.
Teams are shying away from shelling out big money on wideouts in a pandemic-altered offseason with the salary cap expected to balloon in 2022.
As a result, Smith-Schuster may have to settle for a one-year, “prove it” deal himself with plans to cash in next year.
If his price drops low enough, there is even a possibility he re-signs with Pittsburgh to bet on himself.
Still, Smith-Schuster is not the only top wideout facing this predicament, his former teammate Antonio Brown and Detroit Lions standout Kenny Golladay are also still unsigned.
Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, totaling 831 yards and nine touchdowns.
As the hours and days of the new league year continue to tick buy, Smith-Schuster’s options continue to dwindle, making a return to Pittsburgh more of a possibility.