The fifth-year wide receiver will move from Roc Nation Sports to the Wasserman agency (Twitter link). Roc Nation had represented Smith-Schuster for years. Going into a second straight contract year, however, the Pro Bowl wideout changed his strategy.
A reduced salary cap depressed the market for most players, and Smith-Schuster was no exception. Although the Ravens are believed to have offered more, with the Chiefs entering the mix as well, Smith-Schuster opted to re-sign with the Steelers on a one-year, $8MM deal. Several marquee UFAs agreed to one-year pacts, but the cap is expected to balloon north of $200MM in 2022. Teams look set to have more money to spend next year, and more long-term contracts will likely be offered.
The Steelers will have exclusive negotiating rights with Smith-Schuster until next year’s legal tampering period, which will take place two days before the start of the 2022 league year. It will be difficult to see Smith-Schuster signing a long-term extension before retesting the market. The 24-year-old receiver was not expected to be back with the Steelers in 2021, however. Pittsburgh has both Smith-Schuster and James Washington going into walk years, with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool signed beyond 2021.
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