The Pittsburgh Steelers have rolled through the 2020 season thus far. They also feature one of the deepest rosters in the game, but with uncertainty surrounding the 2021 salary cap the roster might be drastically different a year from now. As it sits right now, the Steelers don’t have any money to re-sign any of their upcoming free agents. However, by extending some players, restructuring some deals, and cutting others, the team will be able to give themselves some breathing room.
One of the players the Steelers will look to bring back is wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. While he won’t be the Steelers free agent who commands the most money, that being Bud Dupree, Smith-Schuster will still drive a pretty penny. However, signing a discount deal to stay in Pittsburgh would be the most business savvy deal for the 24 year old.
Now what do I mean by business savvy?
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s image is what’s going to make him more money than whatever his career NFL earnings will be. From endorsements, video game streaming, social media advertisements, his companies, and appearances are the most important thing to Smith-Schuster’s bank account. Maintaining his image as a hard playing, fun loving receiver is paramount.
The best way Smith-Schuster can utilize his time in the NFL and maximize his lifetime earnings, is continuing his career in Pittsburgh. Chasing NFL dollars to play on a worse team has actually ended up costing many former Steelers. Both on the field and outside endorsements.
Take Le’Veon Bell for example, had he signed the second Steelers franchise tag, and subsequent contract offered to him by the Steelers he would have made somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million dollars (not guaranteed). Instead he chased the guaranteed money to play on a terrible Jets team (after sitting out a year) and demanded his release after just two seasons. Netting him 28 million dollars, but after greatly struggling with the Chiefs, Bell will likely never make anything close to what the Steelers offered him again.
Keep in mind Smith-Schuster witnessed this entire saga. Taking less money to play on better teams, tends to actually make players more money. Plus, the added benefit of staying in the good graces of Steelers nation will earn Smith-Schuster a lifetime of endorsements within Pittsburgh alone.
Perhaps the best thing Smith-Schuster can do for his outside football endeavors is making plays in the Super Bowl. No sporting event on this continent gets more eyes than that game, staying in Pittsburgh will get him more of those opportunities. Playing for a team like the Jets gets you the lowest rated games on TV, and why would anyone care about watching someone’s sad “we lost again” tik tok videos…
Staying in Pittsburgh would give Smith-Schuster the best of both worlds. He gets to play with a hall of fame quarterback for another couple years, and in the long run will make more money. The Steelers will do their best to offer Smith-Schuster a competitive deal, and even if another team offers JuJu more money, I think he will end up staying in Pittsburgh.
What do you think? will Smith-Schuster re-sign in Pittsburgh? Tell us why/why not down in the comments below.