ZMI ALPHA:NFL free agency 2021: Ex-Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in talks with Jets, per report

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ZMI ALPHA:NFL free agency 2021: Ex-Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in talks with Jets, per report

This year’s first wave of NFL free agency hasn’t disappointed in the least, having already been chock full of mega-deals and unexpected moves made by both teams and players alike. It appears JuJu Smith-Schuster might soon join the latter, as he works to determine where he’ll play in 2021. The former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout made it clear he wouldn’t mind re-signing in Eastern Pennsylvania, but he’s gotten a lot of attention from other AFC clubs — the rival Baltimore Ravens being one of the more prevalent mentioned in the list of potential landing spots.

But not if the New York Jets have their way, having now jumped in as reportedly being in talks with Smith-Schuster to possibly take his talents to Gang Green, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. It’s no secret the Jets need to add playmakers at the receiver position in 2021, and the Pro Bowler fits the bill when he’s firing on all cylinders. The club recently inked wide receiver Corey Davis to a three-year, $37.5 million deal and playing him in tandem with Smith-Schuster could be the medicine for what ails their struggling passing attack.

The biggest question still revolving around Sam Darnold, of course, and it would potentially put the future of Jamison Crowder in doubt — a player that will hit the Jets salary cap for $10.38 million in the final year of his three-year deal. 

Smith-Schuster burst onto the NFL scene after being selected by the Steelers in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, helping to grease the wheels for the organization to cut ties with mercurial All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. After reeling in 917 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a complement to Brown in Year 1, Smith-Schuster exploded for 1,426 receiving yards on 111 receptions in Year 2. 

He’s not been the same in seasons since, however, with his production waning while his TikTok antics increased, leading to head coach Mike Tomlin having a conversation with him about his pre-game ritual of filming for social media on the opponent’s midfield logo.

A fresh start might be needed for the 25-year-old, and the Jets are hoping it’s with them.

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