Veteran wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster nearly joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 before opting to remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Steelers instead of a one-year, $8 million offer from the Chiefs that included $3 million in incentives. With that contract now coming to an end, is Smith-Schuster interested in signing with the Chiefs once again?
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Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster interested in Chiefs again?
Now that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is retiring, Smith-Schuster has interest in potentially joining the Chiefs again. It’s no secret in NFL circles with multiple league sources that Smith-Schuster hopes to join the Chiefs as a free agent and has expressed that desire. A year ago, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was recruiting Smith-Schuster and sending him photos of the Lombardi Trophy.
Although Smith-Schuster returned from a dislocated shoulder and was activated for a playoff game against Kansas City after undergoing surgery, it limited him to 15 catches for 129 yards and no scores in five starts in 2021. The former USC standout remains a productive receiver when healthy and could complement Tyreek Hill if he signs with the Chiefs.
What impact would the WR have on the Chiefs?
Smith-Schuster is a reliable No. 2 wide receiver in an offense like the Chiefs. He caught 97 passes for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020 and has 323 career receptions for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns.
A year ago, Smith-Schuster told Michael Irvin on his podcast why he nearly joined the Chiefs. Ultimately, the lure of playing another season and opting for familiarity over leaving Pittsburgh.
“I think, just seeing K.C. and bro, Andy Reid was just calling me and he was sending me Lombardi Trophy pictures like constantly,” Smith-Schuster said. “We had a good talk, so it would’ve been K.C. after the Steelers. Like texted it to me while I was trying to make a decision and I have so much respect for him and his team.”
Smith-Schuster caught 5 passes for 26 yards on 8 targets in a 42-21 playoff loss to the Chiefs.
“To me, it looked like he was ready,” Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson told reporters before that game. “Great hands, natural catcher, big hands, strong guy. Just seeing him run around, show that he’s still JuJu at the end of the day.”