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JuJu Smith-Schuster

Pittsburgh Steelers
Wide Receiver #19
Pittsburgh Steelers
Wide Receiver #19
Photo: Icon Sportswire

JuJu Smith-Schuster News

Day-to-day after negative tests

Smith-Schuster (ribs) is considered day-to-day after X-rays on the injury that knocked him out against the Bengals in Week 3 came back negative, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster's bruised ribs will likely impact his practice participation this week, but it sounds like he has a real chance to suit up Sunday in Green Bay without missing additional game action. With the Steelers at 1-2 and fellow wide receiver Diontae Johnson's (knee) Week 4 status uncertain, JuJu will likely tough it out on game day if his status comes down to pain management.

Sep 27, 2021 11:52 AM EST

Out with rib injury

Smith-Schuster won't return to Sunday's game against the Bengals due to a rib injury, Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster caught all three of his targets for 25 yards prior to going down with the injury. The Steelers, which are already without Diontae Johnson (knee), will manage the rest of Sunday's contest with Chase Claypool, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud as the team's top wide receivers.

Sep 26, 2021 12:21 PM EST

Remains short-range target

Smith-Schuster recorded six receptions on seven targets for 41 yards in Sunday's Week 2 loss to the Raiders. He added one rush for three yards and a touchdown.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster was out-targeted and out-gained by both Diontae Johnson (undisclosed) and Chase Claypool. Cutting against his high catch rate, Smith-Schuster's longest gain of the day went for 17-yards and marked his only double-digit reception of the contest. Smith-Schuster did find the end zone on a three-yard rush, though that's not likely to be a consistent source of production. On the other hand, his role could grow if Johnson is required to miss any time after suffering an apparent injury on the final play of Sunday's game.

Sep 19, 2021 2:57 PM EST

Team-leading yardage tally

Smith-Schuster secured four of eight targets for 52 yards in the Steelers' 23-16 win over the Bills on Sunday.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster led Pittsburgh in receiving yardage while checking in second in targets on the afternoon. The fifth-year wideout was encouragingly deployed a bit further away from the line of scrimmage than he typically was in 2020, when he posted a career-low 6.5 yards per target and 8.6 yards per catch. Whether that continues to hold true under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada remains to be seen, but Smith-Schuster will seemingly have a good opportunity to build on the solid opener in a Week 2 home battle against the Raiders.

Sep 12, 2021 4:24 PM EST

Tallies five receptions Saturday

Smith-Schuster hauled in five of his six targets for 39 yards in Saturday's 26-20 preseason win over the Lions.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster and the first-team offense had a chance to work with Ben Roethlisberger on Saturday, and the 2017 second-rounder led the team in receptions. However, his 7.8 yards per catch ranked last among the Steelers' main pass catchers, and he failed to haul in a diving attempt in the second quarter that would have resulted in a 17-yard touchdown. Smith-Schuster was on the field for 64 percent of the offensive snaps in the preseason win and should see plenty of work during the regular season, but his efficiency is somewhat concerning after he had a career-low 6.5 yards per target in 2020.

Aug 22, 2021 10:59 AM EST

Three catches in preseason win

Smith-Schuster secured all three of his targets for 22 yards in Thursday's 24-16 preseason win over the Eagles.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster didn't play in last week's Hall of Fame Game, but he recorded catches in each of the Steelers' first two offensive drives Thursday. The 24-year-old returned to Pittsburgh on a one-year deal during the offseason and is hopeful that he'll see more perimeter work during the 2021 campaign after he lined up in the slot on 74.3 percent of his snaps last season.

Aug 13, 2021 10:57 AM EST

Preparing for more perimeter work

Smith-Schuster says he'll play more snaps outside this season, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster has taken more than half his snaps from the slot in each of four NFL seasons, slowly increasing from 57.8 percent (2017) to 61.0 percent (2018) to 66.7 percent (2019), before leaping to 84.7 percent in 2020, per PFF. He's arguably at his best working inside, but a 5.8 aDOT last season didn't give him many opportunities for long gains. While more work outside could help Smith-Schuster get a few deep looks, he may also face tougher target/touch/snap competition this year, after the Steelers improved their backfield in the first round of the 2021 draft (with Najee Harris) and used their second-round pick on a tight end (Pat Freiermuth) who could encourage more multi-TE looks. The team also still has Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington at wide receiver, competing for targets from 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger.

May 13, 2021 8:09 AM EST

Back to Pittsburgh on one-year deal

Smith-Schuster is signing a one-year, $8 million contract with the Steelers, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Rapoport suggests Smith-Schuster received better contract offers from the Ravens and Chiefs but decided to stay in Pittsburgh for at least one more year. He's no doubt hoping for a better free-agent market next offseason, at which point he'll still be just 25 years old. Smith-Schuster hasn't made as many big plays the past couple years, but his cumulative receiving stats through four seasons (308/3,726/26) are impressive.

Mar 19, 2021 10:28 AM EST

Ready to join Corey Davis in NY?

Smith-Schuster has been talking with the Jets, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: The Jets recently signed Corey Davis and still have Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder under contract. While there are certainly bigger needs on the roster, it makes sense to prioritize pass-catching weapons as the team prepares to acquire a new quarterback. Plus, the Jets could trade or release Crowder if they end up signing Smith-Schuster.

Mar 18, 2021 7:53 AM EST

Goes off in losing effort

Smith-Schuster hauled in a whopping 13 passes (19 targets) for 157 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 48-37 playoff loss to the Browns.

Analysis: The Steelers' offense as a whole looked like the team that was without its head coach and lacking a week of practice in the first quarter. Big Ben and Smith-Schuster finally got things rolling over the next three periods, but the deficit had grown too large to catch up. It was a big win for the 24-year-old from a fantasy perspective, as it was his first 100-plus yard game with a touchdown this season. Smith-Schuster finished the regular season with 97 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. The combination of receptions and scores kept him useful in PPR formats, but the veteran saw a drop in usage to make room for Pittsburgh's suddenly stacked receiver room. Smith-Schuster will become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, and a change of scenery seems plausible given the contract he could command and the Steelers' depth at the position. If Smith-Schuster lands in a situation where a receiver help is needed, it could help put the talented wideout back in the upper echelon of wide receivers if he lands in the right situation [see also Diggs, Stefon 2020].

Jan 10, 2021 11:05 PM EST

Ready to face Browns

Smith-Schuster (knee) practiced fully Friday and does not carry an injury designation for Sunday's wild-card matchup against the Browns, Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster was held out of Thursday's practice due to a knee injury he's been dealing with all year, but it never seemed his status for Sunday's playoff bout was in any real danger. After piling up at least 50 yards and a score in three of his last four games to end the regular season, Smith-Schuster will now focus his attention toward dissecting a Browns' secondary that may be without some combination of Denzel Ward (COVID-19 list), Terrance Mitchell (non-injury related) and M.J. Stewart (calf).

Jan 8, 2021 12:59 PM EST

Logs DNP Thursday

Smith-Schuster (knee) didn't practice Thursday.

Analysis: Though Smith-Schuster wasn't on the Steelers' Wednesday injury report, Dale Lolley of suggests "that's the same knee issue (the wideout has) had all year, so it's not a concern." With that in mind, there's a chance Smith-Schuster heads into Sunday's playoff game against the Browns minus an injury designation, an outcome that will be confirmed one way or the other upon the release of Friday's injury report.

Jan 7, 2021 1:10 PM EST

Records ninth touchdown

Smith-Schuster recorded six receptions on eight targets for 65 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 against the Browns.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster continued to be a reliable target for the Steelers, regularly working in the short areas of the field. However, he also turned in a few big plays, highlighted by a 26-yard reception and two-yard touchdown catch. Though Smith-Schuster struggled to command consistent volume at times during the season, he ended up with 128 targets and 97 receptions to go along with nine touchdowns. He'll enter the offseason as a free agent, though for now Smith-Schuster's attention will be on the Steelers' potential playoff run.

Jan 3, 2021 4:53 PM EST

Sets new season high in yardage

Smith-Schuster caught nine of 13 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster led the team in catches and receiving yards as he notched a new season high in the latter category. He also helped his team complete the come-from-behind victory with a pretty 25-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Smith-Schuster has primarily been used around the line of scrimmage this season, but he received more looks downfield in this one and responded by averaging over 10.0 yards per reception for just the fourth time. He'll look to finish the regular season on a high note in next Sunday's finale against the Browns.

Dec 27, 2020 2:32 PM EST

Goes quiet after fumble

Smith-Schuster caught three of six targets for 15 yards and lost a fumble in Monday's 27-17 loss to the Bengals.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster fumbled after taking a massive hit on a crossing route, ending Pittsburgh's fifth possession of the first quarter without a single first down. The slot receiver never really got an opportunity to make amends for that error, falling short of 30 yards for the fifth time this season. Consistency has been an issue for Smith-Schuster in 2020, but he has compiled a respectable 82 catches for 670 yards and seven touchdowns heading into a Week 16 visit from the Colts.

Dec 21, 2020 9:01 PM EST

Tallies seventh TD in loss

Smith-Schuster had six receptions (seven targets) for 55 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 26-15 loss to Buffalo.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster was the lone bright spot on a forgettable offensive night for the normally high-octane Steelers aerial attack. The "elder statesman" of Pittsburgh's young wideout corps led the team in all receiving categories, which hasn't been a regular occurrence in 2020. That's not to say that Smith-Schuster isn't being utilized, as he is averaging a healthy 7.8 targets per game this year. The 26-year-old simply isn't doing a whole lot with those opportunities, falling below 50 receiving yards on seven occasions while failing to register a 100-plus yard performance through 13 contests. The bright spot on Smith-Schuster's resume is the 79 receptions he has tallied, which undoubtedly boosts his utility in PPR formats heading into a soft matchup against the Bengals on Monday.

Dec 13, 2020 9:48 PM EST

Tallies seven receptions

Smith-Schuster brought in seven of his 10 targets for 28 yards in Monday's 23-17 loss to Washington.

Analysis: The Steelers relied heavily on the passing game once again, with Ben Roethlisberger attempting a season-high 53 passes. Smith-Schuster commanded a sizable target share, but he garnered only 2.8 yards per target, his lowest mark since Week 6. Pittsburgh has passed at least 40 times in each of the last five contests, and Smith-Schuster has received a fair share of targets. However, he's only averaging 4.4 yards per reception over the last three games.

Dec 8, 2020 10:05 AM EST

Hauls in game-clinching touchdown

Smith-Schuster recorded eight receptions on nine targets for 37 yards and touchdown in Week 12 against the Ravens.

Analysis: Ben Roethlisberger took to the air 51 times in the contest, leaving plenty of volume for all of his receivers. Smith-Schuster was used primarily in the short areas of the field, as he averaged only 4.1 yards per target despite hauling in nearly all of the looks he received. Even with the low yardage total, Smith-Schuster managed to salvage his performance with a one-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter -- his sixth of the campaign. He'll look for a more explosive Week 13 showing against Washington.

Dec 2, 2020 4:16 PM EST

Upgrades to full practice

Smith-Schuster (foot) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, Dale Lolley of reports.

Analysis: Smith-Schuster has put forth a 'DNP/LP/FP' practice slate over the last three days, seeming to confirm that he isn't in any actual danger of missing time. Pittsburgh's upcoming matchup against the Ravens has been moved from Thursday to Sunday, however, so the team isn't required to officially assign injury designations for game-day yet.

Nov 25, 2020 2:09 PM EST

Limited in practice

Smith-Schuster (toe) was a limited participant in Tuesday's practice, Teresa Varley of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: The activity represents a step forward for Smith-Schuster, who was listed as non-participant on Monday's estimated practice report. Smith-Schuster would ideally upgrade to full activity in Wednesday's practice and avoid carrying an injury designation into Thursday's game versus Baltimore, but even another limited showing would seemingly put him in good shape to play Week 12.

Nov 24, 2020 1:59 PM EST

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