Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is returning to Pittsburgh for the 2021 season, and he reportedly turned down more lucrative offers to do so.
According to NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti, the Baltimore Ravens offered Smith-Schuster $9 million with an additional $4 million in incentives, while the Kansas City Chiefs presented a slightly lower $8 million and $3 million in incentives. Both were one-year deals as well.
Sources tell me these were the other offers— Taylor Bisciotti (@TaylorBisciotti) March 19, 2021
KC 8 mill with 3 mill incentives
Steelers 8 mill
Baltimore 9 mill 4 incentives
ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that the Philadelphia Eagles offered Smith-Schuster a multi-year contract and more money. Ultimately he was not wooed enough by them either to leave Pittsburgh behind just yet.
JuJu Smith-Schuster also turned down more money on a multi-year deal from the Eagles than he took to return to the Steelers, per source. The Eagles’ were a secret suitor. But Smith-Schuster loved Pittsburgh and its fans too much to leave. https://t.co/X8gitZYxwd— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2021
Smith-Schuster had expressed desire to return to Pittsburgh all along, but the teams tricky financial situation had made a reunion unlikely for some time.
After the wide receiver market dried up, with the value and length of wide receiver contracts shrinking league-wide, the prospect of the two reuniting became a reality.
The one-year agreement provides benefits for both sides.
In Smith-Schuster’s case, he gets to remain in Pittsburgh and earn the opportunity once again prove his value on a one-year deal.
For the Steelers, they can appease quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with his favorite target for another year, while also aligning themselves to potentially re-sign Smith-Schuster to a long-term extension when the salary cap increases sharply in 2022.
Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, totaling 831 yards and nine touchdowns.
Drafted in the second round out of Southern California, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns over his Steeler career.
He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.