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Jeremy Fowler of ESPN was on 93.7 The Fan today to talk about a myriad of topic regarding the Steelers. The biggest discussion lately has been about the Steelers negotiations with Ben Roethlisberger to lower his $41.25 million cap hit, but the future of JuJu Smith-Schuster with the team has also been a big talking point. The USC product is set to become an unresticted free agent in a few weeks and should get a heft pay raise.
Smith-Schuster should command $16 million or more on a new contract in free agency, and with the Steelers currently projected to be around $19 million over the cap, according to Overthecap.com, the Steelers most likely won't be able to compete with other teams to re-sign Smith-Schuster.
Despite the grim odds, Fowler believes that Smith-Schuster returning to the Steelers "isn't off the table." Fowler thinks the Steelers will let Smith-Schuster explore free agency and then possibly come over the top of the offer.
Yesterday, Zach Banner made a post on Instagram that he was shutting down social media until he gets a new contract signed. Banner is most likely to re-sign with the Steelers. Smith-Schuster responed on Banner's post by saying, "Wish I can get one."
Judging by Smith-Schuster's comment, it doesn't sound like the Steelers and Smith-Schuster have gained much traction on getting a deal done.
What Fowler says makes sense, as in all likelihood the Steelers will let Smith-Schuster test the market and then come back around to see what other teams are offering. However, I don't think the Steelers will get in a bidding competition for Smith-Schuster, as they have three solid wide receivers to replace his production with Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and James Washington. The Steelers are also the best team in the league when it comes to drafting wide receivers, so they could select a receiver with potential possibly in the fourth round of this year's draft.