Where will free agent wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster play next season? If his social media activity is any indication, he won’t be in Pittsburgh.
In an Instagram poll posted Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Kaitlin O’Toole posed a simple question: “Will JuJu stay in Pittsburgh?” Voters could choose either “I hope so” or “That’s a negative.” The results overwhelmingly showed most football fans expect Smith-Schuster to leave the Steelers and play for a new team in 2021.
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The most interesting part of the poll wasn’t the results, though, but rather the appearance of one specific participant. Smith-Schuster himself voted from his verified Instagram account for “That’s a negative.”
Smith-Schuster has become a key part of the Steelers’ offense since being selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He totaled 97 receptions, 831 yards and nine touchdowns last season as Pittsburgh won the AFC North title. In an ideal world, the front office would give him what he wants and keep him in a black and gold jersey through his prime.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, re-signing the talented 24-year-old will be a major challenge because of their cap situation. Pittsburgh saved some space by restructuring Ben Roethlisberger’s contract, but the Steelers will struggle to put a competitive offer in front of Smith-Schuster if he’s looking to maximize his earnings.
Maybe that’s why Smith-Schuster was one of the first Instagram users to vote “negative” on that poll. He can already see the most likely outcome.