If you were wondering what a contract extension for JuJu Smith-Schuster looked like, here is an example.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is going to be a free agent after this season. Unless the Steelers trade him for draft picks, the team would like to sign him to a team-friendly deal. In terms of money, a lot of that is going to depend on his 2020 season.
After an injury-plagued season, his value dipped; however, he is still in the market for a contract that will pay him $15 million in annual salary. Devante Adams was given that price about a few years ago, while Stefon Diggs ($14.4 million) and Jarvis Landry ($15.1 million) are in the similar boat.
If Smith-Schuster can prove that he can stay healthy, then he will be guaranteed to get at least that amount.
The 23-year old Smith-Schuster was the heir to Antonio Brown when the franchise traded him to the Oakland Raiders. Smith-Schuster is certainly a dangerous weapon for the team; however, the Steelers have held off from giving him a long-term deal for a great deal of time.
A lot of that has to do with durability. In three seasons, Smith-Schuster has played 16 games just once. In 2019, he missed four games and saw his production dip dramatically. The chances of him getting injured in 2020 are safe to assume.
The Steelers are not wrong for holding off, especially after last season. Smith-Schuster went from 1,426 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2018 to 552 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2019.
The Steelers are likely looking to see if Smith-Schuster can prove he can stay healthy. Losing Big Ben last season was a huge loss, but Smith-Schuster missed ¼ of the season anyways.
Simply put, the Steelers are not going to commit to an injury-riddled receiver. The year 2020 will be a “prove it” year for Smith-Schuster.