Updated: Jan 20, 2021
(Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)
Along with Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network's report that Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return in 2021. Garafolo also noted that Roethlisberger has already communicated to the Steelers that if he returns he wants wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on board as well.
Smith-Schuster is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March and the Steelers are almost 22 million over the projected salary cap of $176 million because of lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Overthecap.com. The Steelers also have 19 players that are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Roethlisberger's $41.25 million cap hit is a big reason why the Steelers are dealing with a cap crisis. However, the Steelers could extend Roethlisberger's contract to lower his cap, or Roethlisberger could take a massive pay cut. Based on his production at the receiver position in the past four years, Smith-Schuster should command around $16 million or more per year.
There have been also rumors that Smith-Schuster wants to play in a bigger market to build his brand more. Smith-Schuster has refuted this notion, however.
Last night on a Twitch stream, Smith-Schuster had a caption that said "Free Agent, Where Should I go?" Smith-Schuster obviously did it to gain viewers, but it didn't sit well with some Steelers fans, especially seeing him in different team's uniforms on Fortnite.