JuJu Smith-Schuster, who the Jets reportedly spoke with, will remain with the team that drafted him back in 2017.
JuJu Smith-Schuster will not be headed to Florham Park.
According to Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network, the young wideout is returning to the Steelers on a one-year deal. The contract is for $8 million.
Smith-Schuster became a free agent this week and was reportedly speaking with the Jets. Given its noteworthy amount of cap space, New York could’ve afforded him, but he instead takes less money to remain in Pittsburgh.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is returning to Pittsburgh on a 1 year deal, taking a massive paycut to return to his home over larger offers from divisional rivals and Super Bowl contenders to accommodate Pittsburgh’s tough cap situation. JuJu is staying home.
— Taylor Bisciotti (@TaylorBisciotti) March 19, 2021
Acquiring Smith-Schuster would’ve further boosted the Jets receiving corps. The team has already agreed to deals with Corey Davis and Keelan Cole this week, making it a priority to improve an offense that struggled mightily last season.
While Smith-Schuster is a talented slot receiver, so is Cole, who caught 55 balls for 642 yards and five touchdowns with Jacksonville last year. He’s expected to be a reliable reserve wideout who could thrive in situational offensive schemes.
Cole’s additionally a return specialist option, having returned 80 kicks and nine punts for the Jaguars in 2020. Signing him for $5.5 million across one season is a beneficial deal for the organization.
Not landing JuJu doesn’t mean the Jets are done acquiring receivers this offseason. Expect them to utilize at least one of their ten draft picks (potentially their No. 23 overall selection) on a wideout. They’ll need a number of talented passing-game targets to help either Sam Darnold or Zach Wilson develop (should the organization not trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson).
With Smith-Schuster employed once again, it’s clear Kenny Golladay is the top receiver available on the market. However, Golladay hasn’t been linked to the Jets as of late and instead may end up on the Giants or Ravens (he met with the former Thursday and Friday).