The Chiefs chased JuJu Smith-Schuster in consecutive offseasons. They attempted to sign him in 2021, joining the Ravens in that regard. While Smith-Schuster re-signed with the Steelers last year, he said the Chiefs finished second. He landed in Kansas City this year on a one-year, $3.25MM contract. After a lost year in his Pittsburgh finale, Smith-Schuster is expected to play a more versatile role in Kansas City.
“This is what I’ve been waiting to do. Everyone has to know everybody’s position. You have to know the outside, inside. You could play anywhere,” Smith-Schuster said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King, of his role in the Chiefs’ offense. “To be on so many personnel groups where we got so many great receivers who could play inside and outside, I love it. That’s what I’ve been wanting to do, to be used in so many different ways.”
The Steelers used Smith-Schuster in the slot on 78.8% of his snaps from 2020-21, per Pro Football Focus. While the veteran inside pass catcher should not be considered a pure Tyreek Hill replacement, he will be part of Kansas City’s collective post-Hill solution. Smith-Schuster joins Marquez Valdes-Scantling, second-round pick Skyy Moore and holdover Mecole Hardman in that group.
Here is more from the wide receiver scene across the league:
- Regarding Hill, the accomplished wideout wanted to leave Kansas City, per King, who describes Hill as being unhappy leading up to the trade to Miami — a swap that led to the dominant speed threat securing a wideout-record contract. “It’s good for him and it’ll be good for us,” Andy Reid said. “It’s a win-win. I think it’ll help him in his career with the Dolphins. Financially it’s phenomenal for him and his family.” The Dolphins gave Hill a receiver-record $30MM-per-year deal, beating out the Jets in the quick-developing March sweepstakes. During a June podcast in which he expressed dissatisfaction with his 2021 role, Hill said he wanted to stay in Kansas City on a deal in the $25-26MM-per-year neighborhood. Agent Drew Rosenahus upped the asking price to that level after the Raiders’ Davante Adams extension. The Chiefs chose a trade that brought back five picks instead.
- Jalen Reagor came up in trade rumors earlier this year, but the Eagles have seen the former first-round pick put together a good camp. The underperforming wideout looks to have secured a role as Philadelphia’s No. 4 receiver, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Reagor will likely be positioned to work ahead of offseason addition Zach Pascal, despite the latter’s Indianapolis history with Nick Sirianni. Under contract for two more years, Reagor — barring a trade — is set to play behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Reagor played 67% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in each of his first two years.
- The Rams‘ second Super Bowl-winning season did not feature much Tutu Atwell work. Despite the diminutive Louisville product being Los Angeles’ top draft pick last year, he played just 10 offensive snaps and saw an injury cut short his return-game duties eight games in. Although Sean McVay previously wanted Atwell to see notable preseason work, the sixth-year HC said (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, on Twitter) the second-round pick has impressed the team in practice to the point he will not need to suit up for August game work. The Rams still may feature a depth chart at receiver that limits Atwell’s 2022 snaps, when Van Jefferson returns from injury early in the season. The Rams will have Jefferson, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson in front of Atwell, and they have been endlessly connected to an Odell Beckham Jr. reunion this year.