Former Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury after the New England Patriots placed him on injured reserve. The last game Smith-Schuster played was against his former team, and since that point, the injury flared up and has kept him out.
His game against his former team will end up as his most productive in his first season with the Patriots, logging four catches for 90 yards in that game. In his first season of a three-year, $26.5 million contract, Smith-Schuster put up just 260 yards on 29 receptions for a touchdown. He did that while just playing in 11 games amid quarterback controversy. However, the Patriots paid for him to be a top option in the offense, and he ended up giving them very little.
Smith-Schuster had many plentiful years with the Steelers after they drafted him in 2017. He had a torrid start to his NFL career with the Steelers, with 58 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 and then 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns in his lone Pro Bowl season in 2018.
The Steelers offense changed big-time in 2019, with the departure of Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger missing most of the season, and Smith-Schuster never really recaptured the magic of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh.
When his rookie contract expired after the 2020 season, the NFL was in the midst of a pandemic-induced salary cap crunch, and Smith-Schuster came back to the Steelers on a one-year deal. But he was injured for almost all of the 2021 season, playing in just five games.
Since then, Smith-Schuster won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs and cashed in off that season. What happens after 2023 is anyone’s guess, but based on the cap implications, it would seem likely that he gets a second crack with the Patriots.