JuJu Smith-Schuster is a free agent.
Though it is not fair to say that he has burned the bridge with Pittsburgh, it seems highly unlikely that they are working to re-sign him.
For one thing, the Steelers probably cannot afford him.
— BlitzburghVideos ✨ (@BlitzVideos) March 11, 2021
Smith-Schuster is young and some would say his antics with Tik-Tok and social media are over the top.
Regardless, he is a good player.
He has been a productive wide receiver for the Steelers for years.
Only 2 WRs with 100+ slot targets in 2020
🎰 JuJu Smith-Schuster – 103
🎰 CeeDee Lamb – 101 pic.twitter.com/uD7LBDGPQd
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) March 12, 2021
The question becomes where will he end up, and the Las Vegas Raiders keep coming up in that conversation.
Would he fit in with the Raiders?
Yes, he would.
Just ask Nate Burleson of Good Morning Football.
— Raider Posts (@RaiderPosts) March 8, 2021
The Raiders are reportedly very interested in signing JuJu Smith-Schuster.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 10, 2021
Smith-Schuster, for his part, listed the Las Vegas Raiders as a potential landing spot on a Twitch livestream.
“Should I just stay in Pittsburgh? Packers, Raiders, Jaguars … the Jets. … There’s a lot of good places to go.”
Raiders Have A Need
At least, it appears they do.
Nelson Agholor played well in 2020 but is a free agent.
Are the Raiders working to re-sign him?
It is hard to say.
If the Raiders are no re-signing Agholor, 27, it seems like a given that Smith-Schuster, 24, would be an option.
Smith-Schuster has not yet matched his 2018 statistics.
Signing with the Raiders would make him a likely WR1; would he be productive in Vegas in that role?
Can The Raiders Afford Him?
Money is an ever present issue in free agency, but it is even more so this year since the salary cap dropped from last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The adjusted salary cap by team, which takes into account the carryover for each team + this year's cap of $182.5m: pic.twitter.com/iAv7N3ovff
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 10, 2021
Top dollar contracts in 2021 will be fewer and farther between.
The Steelers and Raiders are at about the same place with salary cap and carryover.
At 24 years of age, does he want to sign a one year deal and wait for the cap to hopefully rise or go with a multi-year commitment to a team?
Fits With Raider Culture
Like it or not, JuJu Smith-Schuster would fit right in with the Las Vegas Raiders.
His outgoing personality and even the social media dances on opponents’ logos would be much better received in Sin City than in blue collar Pittsburgh.
Raiders Coach Jon Gruden does not mind trying out former Steelers personalities/wide receivers though admittedly the Antonio Brown experiment did not go well.
Let’s not forget that the Raiders irked Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid by making laps around Arrowhead after upsetting the Chiefs at home in 2020.
Who does not think that JuJu Smith-Schuster would like to get in on that action?
The good news is that the speculation about JuJu Smith-Schuster’s future should come to an end this week.
The 2021 NFL league year officially begins on Wednesday March 17.
That means that free agent signings can begin at 4 pm EDT on Wednesday.
We anticipate Smith-Schuster to be one of several high profile NFL players signed this week by new teams.