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Insider Thinks Steelers Should Look at JuJu Smith-Schuster if Released



JuJu Smith-Schuster

Patriots reporter Greg Bedard sparked speculation that wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could be on the open market soon, as he might not be an ideal fit with new head coach Jerod Mayo. Smith-Schuster was a Bill Belichick acquisition.

“I don’t really see a fit for JuJu here. I think Mayo talked about the competition in the room, and definitely sort of a Belichick acquisition,” Bedard said on his podcast. “Veteran guy that you know, you’ve seen, he’s played games, stuff like that. This is just a different regime. JuJu Smith-Schuster, to me, is not a fit here anymore, and I would be surprised if he’s here all that much longer.”

Smith-Schuster had a tumultuous season in New England last season, recording only 29 receptions for 260 yards (9.0 average) and one touchdown in 11 games. Smith-Schuster has a $10.2 million cap hit this season and the Patriots would have $12.2 million in dead money if they cut him, according to Over The Cap.

On the heels of the Bedard report, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic was asked during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan Friday if the Steelers should consider kicking the tires on Smith-Schuster if he’s released. Kaboly thinks it would be worth a shot, as anything should be on the table for the Steelers to improve their wide receiver corps.

The Steelers have George Pickens as their No. 1 wide receiver and a promising rookie in Roman Wilson. But after that, there’s a lot of uncertainty.

“They’d probably give him a call,” Kaboly said. “I mean, at this point, you gotta look at anybody. At this point, there’s not not a lot of people that are gonna come free at this time in the year. You’re basically gonna have to trade for somebody. If you’re gonna cut somebody, it’s gonna be still iffy.”

Smith-Schuster is only 27, but there’s legitimate concerns about the long-term health of his knee. During an appearance on NBC Sports Boston last August, Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer said Smth-Schuster’s “knee is a mess, and that thing could explode at any point.”

Smith-Schuster’s knee didn’t explode, but he did lack explosiveness. He didn’t look like the same player from his days with the Steelers from 2017-2021 or when he won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022. The poor quarterback play and overall inefficiency with the offense could’ve played a factor in the down year, however.

According to Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald, Smith-Schuster said he was only around 60% healthy this time last year, and that he is now 100%. Smith-Schuster says he’s never felt better.