Much of the Pittsburgh Media love to hate on JuJu Smith-Schuster. I have no idea how you can hate on the young man now after he turned down the Chiefs, Ravens, and Eagles to sign a much cheaper deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. JuJu is one of the best slot receivers in the game of football right now and at one point even Le'Veon Bell acknowledged how good he was. Whether you like his antics off the football field or not you have to acknowledge he is one of the most clutch slot receivers in the game.
Mike Tomlin on JuJu Smith-Schuster: “He’s physically and mentally tough,” Tomlin said. “I just think he brings a can-do attitude always. He is the leader of the young guns. Anybody who knows him, his teammates know he is an energy-bringer. He is a team player first.” Tomlin went on to predict Smith-Schuster, though just 24, will be a team captain one day."
If Tomlin can see JuJu Smith-Schuster being a captain one day it would make sense to lock him up to a longer-term contract in 2022 when the Steelers have the most cap. The priority in 2022 should be TJ Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Minkah Fitzpatrick (although he will be on his fifth-year option going into 2022). In 2020 JuJu Smith-Schuster ranked 1st with catches (81) and touchdowns (9) in the NFL.
Since 2017 JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ranked in the top 5 with receptions, yards, and touchdowns in the slot position at wide receiver. Not only that he has never dropped a ball 20+ yards down the field since 2018. He now has 17 catches and 0 drops. These are the statistics the Pittsburgh Media do not want you to see, but if you take a deep dive into JuJu Smith-Schuster's production on the field you will see is one of the most clutch slot receivers in the game of football.
Although it seems Ben Roethlisberger loves to target Diontae Johnson the most on the football field he still does throw to JuJu Smith-Schuster and when the both of them connect on the football field they tend to create damage. The problem is the Steelers need to utilize JuJu Smith-Schuster more than just short passes. Send him down the field and get creative with your wide-receivers. That is what should happen under Matt Canada's offense in 2021.
Ben Roethlisberger on JuJu Smith-Schuster: "He is a guy that has been in the system for a while," said Ben Roethlisberger during the season. "He is a guy I can line up anywhere and he knows what to do. What you see from him in terms of his demeanor, his attitude, when the ball is in his hand is determination. It's unbelievable. There have been times when I have gotten the ball to him on third and whatever, and he has caught it a little bit short of the first down, and I have 100 percent confidence he is going to find a way to get the first down."
Ben Roethlisberger says he is very comfortable with JuJu Smith-Schuster: "He is just a competitor. He is fun to play with. He is tough. He can make combat catches. He gets those first downs when you need them. He is smart. He is a guy you can move around and put him pretty much anywhere and he knows what to do. He helps get other guys lined up. I think when you have a guy when push comes to shove, when the rubber meets the road, all the different slangs you want to use. When you have a guy like JuJu that I know and trust him, it makes you feel pretty comfortable."
JuJu Smith-Schuster needs to start getting the respect he needs on the football field. Just because he loves to dance and do Tik Toks does not mean he is a very good wide receiver on the football field. JuJu says he would like to retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler and I believe he means it. Especially after seeing him turn down more money with the Chiefs, Ravens, and Eagles this offseason and settling for a one-year deal with the Steelers for only $8 million dollars. It's time to start putting respect on JuJu Smith-Schuster's name as one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.