The Raiders are “very interested” in signing JuJu Smith-Schuster, according to John Clayton of 710 ESPN (Twitter link). The Steelers wide receiver is currently on track to reach the open market in March.
Smith-Schuster, 25 in November, seemed on track for superstardom just a few years ago. As a rookie, Smith-Schuster caught 58 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in just 14 games. In his last regular season game as an NFL frosh, he took a 96-yard kickoff all the way to the house and became the youngest player in NFL history to record more than 1,o00 all-purpose yards in a season.
Then came the true breakout year — 111 grabs for 1,426 yards and seven TDs and a Pro Bowl selection, helping the Steelers make up for the absence of Le’Veon Bell. The following year, Antonio Brown was shipped out, which should have set the stage for Smith-Schuster to have an even bigger season. Instead, his 2019 was marred by a knee injury and played without the services of Ben Roethlisberger.
Smith-Schuster was healthier in 2020 and bounced back somewhat, finishing with a 97/831/9 stat line. If the Raiders don’t retain Nelson Agholor, Smith-Schuster could have appeal. Of course, between Brown and Martavis Bryant, the Raiders haven’t had the best of luck with ex-Steelers WRs.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.