(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
While many thought JuJu Smith-Schuster was departing given the Steelers' dire salary-cap situation, he signed a one-year prove-it deal for $8 million today with Pittsburgh, as there wasn't that much money to be had on the open market. Teams were hesitant to pay receivers big-time money with the cap almost $16 million lower than what it was expected to be due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a no-brainer for Smith-Schuster to return to Pittsburgh, as he'll get to play another year with Ben Roethlisberger and is familiar with the offense. He can also cash in next year when the cap goes up substantially because of the mega TV deal the league agreed to yesterday with the networks.
We knew Smith-Schuster would be receiving a one-year, $8 million deal, but we know the structure of the contract.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Smith-Schuster's one-year contract with the Steelers includes a $7 million signing bonus, a $1 million base salary and four voidable years. Smith-Schuster's cap number is just $2.4 million this year, per Ian Whetstone of Steel City Insider.
Vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan was able to manouever the cap by using the void years and got Smith-Schuster at a number that's a steal for them cap-wise.
So, if Smith-Schuster only has a $2.4 million cap hit why is Steven Nelson on the trade block? Possibly Nelson didn't agree to a contract extension or restructure, or maybe he's unhappy with the team. As of right now, it's a mystery.