The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster last week, but one NFL insider reports there are concerns about the 24-year-old’s long-term health.
In a piece breaking down the key free agency moves for all 32 teams, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that multiple sources believe Smith-Schuster’s health is a question mark with knee ailments that have lingered over the last two seasons.
Smith-Schuster missed at least a practice a week last season with the lingering knee issues, but was available for every game during the 2020 season.
According to Fowler’s sources, he “received frequent treatment for knee-related issues,” which has raised the concerns regarding his durability into the future.
Still, Fowler spoke with Smith-Schuster’s agent Kim Miale, who reiterated that no clubs expressed concerns regarding the wideout’s health during the free agency process.
While some might question Miale’s proximity to the situation, the primary reason Smith-Schuster returns to Pittsburgh was that the wide receiver market dried up league-wide, not because of health concerns.
That being said, the Steelers know more about Smith-Schuster’s health than anyone. They did only sign him to a one-year deal, but that is likely more related to his desire to enter free agency again and the club looking ahead to 2022 when the salary cap is expected to balloon.
Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, while also tallying 831 yards and nine touchdowns. Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of USC, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns as a Steeler. He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.