Pittsburgh Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster # 19 reacts against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Michael Reaves | Getty Images
If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to sign the star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster again for a long-term contract, the club will have to negotiate with another agent.
Smith-Schuster left Roc Nation agency, which entertainer Jay Z founded, and joined respected National Football League agent Chafie Fields in the sports division of Wasserman Media Group, the agency said on Monday. Smith-Schuster joins a Fields-led squad that includes Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys and Arik Armstead, defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers.
Fields, the company’s executive president for team sports, also added National Basketball Association star James Harden to its clients in January.
Smith-Schuster, 24, signed a $ 8 million one-year pact with the Steelers after taking 97 catches for 831 yards and nine touchdowns in the 2020 season. His best season came in 2018 when he reached the Pro Bowl for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns after 111 receptions.
By signing a one-year contract, Smith-Schuster is essentially betting on himself that he will statistically deliver a better season and avoid significant injury. As a result, he could be one of the most sought-after players in the free agency class in 2022, benefiting from a higher salary cap that could reach $ 208 million, up from $ 182.5 for the 2021 season.
Currently, Cooper’s five-year $ 100 million deal is the most expensive deal in the NFL for a receiver. Fields negotiated that deal in the 2020 offseason. The Arizona Cardinals recipient DeAndre Hopkins ($ 27.2 million) and the new Tennessee Titans wideout Julio Jones ($ 22 million) are the highest paid per year, according to Spotrac.
So if he produces and does another Pro Bowl, Smith-Schuster will likely be looking for a new deal in that budget.
NFL training camps begin next month for the 2021 campaign. After the pandemic season that has restricted most fans, the league expects clubs to allow full attendance.