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Juju Smith-Schuster
Cleveland Browns

Juju Smith-Schuster’s 3 Best Free Agent Fits

  • Justin Melo
  • March 10, 2022
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The free-agent-to-be wide receiver market took a considerable hit when Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, and Mike Williams either were franchise-tagged or agreed to sign new deals with their respective clubs. Receiver-needy teams who may have been targeting those players have been forced to readjust their expectations and plans. Despite those three high-level players staying put, the open market is currently set to possess several potential game-changers at the position.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week for the second time in as many offseasons after signing a one-year contract worth $8 million with the Steelers last year. Smith-Schuster should be a priority for teams looking to upgrade their receiver room despite appearing in just five regular-season contests after suffering what appeared to be a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5. Smith-Schuster miraculously recovered in time to play in Pittsburgh’s lone postseason contest.

Now healthy and ready to contribute again, Smith-Schuster is a physical slot receiver that’s capable of serving as a high-level second or third option in a successful passing attack. The Steelers’ broken passing offense has done Smith-Schuster no favors as of late, and he could search for greener pastures elsewhere. We’ve identified three free-agent fits for Smith-Schuster.


This would send Steelers fans into a fit of uncontrollable rage. Browns general manager Andrew Berry enters the signing period with $19 million in available cap space and he must use his financial resources to acquire at least two high-level receivers this offseason. Rumors have begun swirling around the uncertain future of veteran receiver Jarvis Landry. The Browns could clear an additional $14.9 million in cap space by releasing or trading Landry, but doing so would create another hole at receiver.

Landry’s potential departure would also leave behind a sizable hole at the slot receiver position specifically, and Smith-Schuster has been one of the more effective and consistent slot receivers throughout the course of his career. Smith-Schuster has always run the majority of his routes from the slot, where his quick-twitch movements and savvy route-running abilities help him create mismatches.

Starting quarterback Baker Mayfield desperately needs to play alongside a trustworthy and reliable receiver that can do damage underneath. The onus is on general manager Berry to build a better pass-catching environment around Mayfield in 2022. The retention of David Njoku is a good start, but more is required. The Browns should have plenty of interest in Smith-Schuster’s services, particularly so if they move on from Landry.


The Colts sent waves around the football world by trading quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders on Wednesday afternoon in exchange for several mid-round draft selections. The move cleared up a plethora of money for the Colts, who now possess more cap space ($69.3 million) than any other team in the NFL. General manager Chris Ballard must acquire a new starting signal-caller, but he mustn’t neglect the need to upgrade several offensive playmaking positions, too.

Michael Pittman Jr. has developed into a legitimate top-tier pass-catcher, but Ballard must surround him with more appropriate running mates this offseason. Indianapolis’ next starting quarterback will need more weapons than what Wentz was given to work with throughout the 2021 campaign. Aging veteran T.Y. Hilton is an unrestricted free agent and is well past his prime. Zach Pascal is also a free agent, and although he may be retained, he’s nothing more than a reliable third or fourth option. The Colts want to run the ball early and often, and they possess a budding superstar in Jonathan Taylor in the backfield. They must keep opposing defenses honest by possessing more of a threat in the passing game. Smith-Schuster is the ideal receiver to pair with Pittman.


The Colts aren’t the only AFC South squad that could use upgrades at the receiver position. Acquiring Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft unfortunately backfired for the Titans, as the future Canton-bound Jones struggled to remain healthy and on the field. General manager Jon Robinson put a lot of eggs in the A.J. Brown and Jones basket at the receiver position a year ago, and the Titans must better protect themselves at the position going forward in case Jones’ injury issues continue to persist.

The Titans often started veteran journeyman Chester Rogers in the slot a year ago and should look to upgrade from him this offseason. Rogers came through for the Titans at times but lacks the overall skill set to truly thrive as a starting-caliber NFL receiver in today’s pass-happy league. Robinson cleared more than $13 million in cap space on Thursday morning by releasing veteran offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and Kendall Lamm.

The long-term re-signing of outside linebacker Harold Landry should allow Robinson to focus on improving the offensive personnel around Ryan Tannehill this offseason. Allowing Smith-Schuster to do damage from the slot while Brown and Jones occupy the outside would make the Titans more dangerous.