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Pittsburgh Steelers fans should enjoy seeing Diontae Johnson in 2022 because the likelihood that they will pay him enough to keep him in the long run is low.
Diontae Johnson enters a contract year hoping to get a contract similar to the one Washington just gave Terry McLaurin.
However, it does not look like he will get it from the Steelers.
McLaurin received a three-year deal from the Commanders, reportedly worth $ 23 million a year. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic threw cold water at the idea that Pittsburgh should give the receiver something close to it.
The Steelers are not expected to pay Diontae Johnson big bucks in free agency
“[The Steelers] does not offer him anything near McLaurin or anyone else who received more than $ 20 million a year. They will offer him something and he will not be what he thinks he can get in the market and he will be paid next year somewhere else, ”Kaboly wrote in a recent mailbag. “… The Steelers do not pay a recipient $ 22 million a year.”
A look at the current Pittsburgh Recipient Room shows that they are not even paying a Recipient $ 3 million at the moment.
Rookie George Pickens is the highest-earning recipient on the list thanks to his $ 2 million signature bonus. Johnson and Miles Boykin earn $ 2.7 million and $ 2.5 million, respectively. Chase Claypool brings in $ 1.2 million.
JuJu Smith-Schuster earned $ 8 million in 2021.
So basically, Pittsburgh has not really spent money on a receiver since Antonio Brown, and it ended up going downhill for them.
Johnson could certainly convince the team to make a major investment in him. It will not be easy with uncertainty in the quarterback position, but the receiver comes from his first Pro Bowl nod with 107 receptions, 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns to his name in 2021. And that was to catch passes from an almost retired Ben Roethlisberger.
If Kenny Pickett exceeds early expectations and shows up as a starting QB, and Johnson builds a strong enough connection with him, a pairing of the two could make the investment worthwhile.