The big news today is that JuJu Smith-Schuster is returning to the Steelers on a one-year deal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter would follow up by stating that he chose to take less money and stay in Pittsburgh, before alluding to the fact that both the Ravens and Eagles were in on the USC product.
This is interesting. The Eagles reportedly offered Smith-Schuster a multi-year deal, showing some mid-term interest in the wideout. His fit in the Eagles offense would likely be from the slot which would’ve probably displaced Greg Ward Jr. While he does have some strong blocking tendencies, JuJu’s at his best when wreaking havoc after the catch and picking up speed over the middle.
He burst onto the scene after being drafted in the second round back in 2017, quickly catching the baton dropped by Antonio Brown. After a 917-yard rookie season, he blew up for a 1,426 yard romp in year 2.
Since then, he hasn’t really been the same. With 552 yards in 2019 and 831 in 2020, Smith-Schuster has become better-known for his TikTok antics while his on-field production has dipped. From his ritual of filming on the opposing midfield logo, to drawing wrong attention from angles, JuJu hasn’t exactly been the quiet and composed player that the Eagles would usually target. Still, at 24-years-old, it’s easy to see why the Eagles would cash in on a pair of quieter seasons.
The Eagles have been unusually quiet in free agency thus far, having only really been linked with John Johnson and then signing veteran Andrew Adams. This move comes straight out of left field as something that really doesn’t fit their cap-aware mentality but could signify that they’re going to be players for a potential upgrade over Greg Ward Jr. or at least looking to explore a player of a similar skill-set or caliber.
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire