When the NFL offseason began, it was looking as if wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster's days as a Pittsburgh Steeler were numbered. However, the 24-year-old wound up signing a one-year, $8 million contract to remain with the Steelers for another season.
But how close was he to leaving Pittsburgh? Well, apparently pretty close.
Smith-Schuster appeared on NFL legend Michael Irvin's podcast this week and revealed that he would've joined the Kansas City Chiefs if he didn't return to Pittsburgh, thanks to clever recruiting by head coach Andy Reid.
He said that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid would try to entice him by "constantly" sending him pictures of the Lombardi Trophy.
Smith-Schuster had a modest 2020 NFL season. It wasn't as great as his sophomore season, but he still caught 97 out of the 128 targets that he saw (75.8%), converting that to 831 yards and a career-high 9 touchdowns. The emergence of Steelers receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool wound up giving Smith-Schuster more space to make plays.
And the truth is that the Chiefs could've used Smith-Schuster. The team lost Sammy Watkins in free agency and, with his talents, Smith-Schuster would've been more than a suitable replacement. It's not hard to imagine the damage he and Patrick Mahomes could've unleashed together.
Nevertheless, the image of Smith-Schuster in a Chiefs jersey remains a pipedream for at least another season. You can't fault Andy Reed for being persistent, at least.
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