How bad would it hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers if JuJu Smith-Schuster decides to walk in 2021?
Free Agency is set to open up on March 17th. It is coming pretty fast and the Steelers have some tough decisions to make in the upcoming days. Rapoport recently said the Steelers are trying to get a deal done with JuJu Smith-Schuster, but the problem is their cap situation. The Steelers could get a deal done with JuJu, but the Steelers will need to do some cap gymnastics if they want to get it done.
If JuJu Smith-Schuster walks in free agency which seems pretty likely you should expect to see Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson's play elevate in a big way. We know how James Washington shows up so the question is how bad would it hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers if JuJu does decide to walk in 2021? Put it this way. It is going to hurt the Steelers more if Bud Dupree walks rather than JuJu Smith-Schuster. TJ Watt and Bud Dupree are one of the best duo's in the NFL and now there is a chance the Steelers could lose that duo in the 2021 offseason. I feel Dupree is much more valuable than JuJu Smith-Schuster based on keeping TJ Watt and Dupree together. They both excel when they play together.
If JuJu Smith-Schuster were to go down with an injury as Bud Dupree did in 2020 the Steeler's offense couldn't get any worse. JuJu is great in the slot. He is very dependable when catching the football, but he is replaceable. If this organization were the New York Jets then losing JuJu Smith-Schuster would hurt, but because this is the Pittsburgh Steelers they tend to find gems all the time at the wide receiver positions constantly.
Looking at the value of Mike Hilton, Tyson Alualu, Cam Sutton, and even Matt Feiler going into free agency I would much rather sign all of those guys than just sign JuJu Smith-Schuster to a big contract moving forward. The value alone with all 4 of those guys is much more valuable than just one wide receiver who is going to command a $16 million dollar contract annually. So ultimately I feel it won't hurt the Steelers as bad to lose JuJu Smith-Schuster as it would be to lose Bud Dupree in the long run. JuJu is a great talent, but the Steelers can replace him quite easily in free agency or the draft.