PITTSBURGH — JuJu Smith-Schuster’s first foray in free agency probably did not go the way the wide receiver wanted.
With a depressed market thanks to a pandemic-caused salary cap crunch, Smith-Schuster tested the waters this spring and ended up right back in Pittsburgh on a one-year contract.
His hope is that his rookie classmate T.J. Watt doesn’t even get that far, expressing publicly on Friday after the team’s second training camp practice of the season at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex that he hopes the Steelers are able to sign Watt to a long-term extension before the start of the season.
“They gotta pay T.J.,” Smith-Schuster said. “They got to take care of T.J. He’s a guy who’s a non-stop working guy. He deserves it, every bit of it. So of anyone on the team, he’s a guy who’s going to great for us now and in the future.”
Watt isn’t commenting on any particular salary demands he might have, but Smith-Schuster said he’s worth breaking the bank for.
“130, 140, 150 million, plus,” he said. “Easily. No doubt.”
The reason, according to Smith-Schuster, is not just what Watt provides on the field
“He’s our spokesman for our team,” Smith-Schuster said. “He speaks not by actions. He doesn’t’ just talk the talk. He walks the walk. That’s someone you want in your locker room. And I noticed that the day I walked in as a rookie. He deserved every piece of it.”