NFL Free Agency Primer: Juju Smith-Schuster

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Juju Smith-Schuster

After three disappointing years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster revitalized his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022. The former Pro Bowler led all Chiefs wide receivers in yards (933) and catches (78) as a deadly underneath option with shiftiness and yards-after-catch ability to spare. He didn't quite regain the form that made him one of the league's most promising young wide receivers in his first two seasons (2343 receiving yards over his first 30 games), but he still has plenty of time: he's only just recently turned 26 years old.

The Fit:

Smith-Schuster's one-year experiment with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs went about as well as possible, so a reunion would be a smart bet for both parties. If his quality year has priced him out of the Chiefs' future, he'd be a good fit for a team that needs a slot complement to a more traditional downfield threat and doesn't mind his boisterous personality.

The Cost:

Smith-Schuster will be a tricky negotiation. He was miserable from 2019 to 2021 (45.8 receiving yards per game, 6.7 yards per target), but his age and his 2022 season are in line with a $20 million-per-year wide receiver. He should command a deal similar to the four-year, $72 million contract Christian Kirk landed from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022, but if the Chiefs love him, he could also flirt with the three-year, $60 million extension Chris Godwin inked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that same year.
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