A report has emerged detailing the latest when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Diontae Johnson coming to terms on a new contract.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been blessed with some great wide receivers in the past, from the glory days of Lynn Swann and John Stallworth all the way through to Hines Ward in the 2000s and Antonio Brown in the 2010s, but right now they seem to be struggling to find their next main man out wide.
They lost two contenders this past offseason as JuJu Smith-Schuster left to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs whilst James Washington signed with the Dallas Cowboys, although they have certainly done their best to try and redress the balance in the wide receiver room.
They brought in George Pickens and Calvin Austin III during the draft, whilst also bringing in Miles Boykin in free agency following his stint with the Baltimore Ravens. That’s of course before you consider the players that are being held over from last year.
One of those men is Diontae Johnson.
A standout year
2021 would turn out to be the best that Johnson has had in the NFL so far. Helped by the injury to Smith-Schuster, Johnson was able to become a key figure in the Steelers’ offence, leading the team in both receiving yards and touchdowns, racking up 1,161 and 8 respectively.
Despite the final stretch of the season, 2021 was easily Diontae Johnson’s best body of work in terms of catching & body control/concentration. pic.twitter.com/muo4HrOpcz— Daniel Valente (@StatsGuyDaniel) June 26, 2022
It certainly was a vast improvement on his performances in 2020 where he led the league in drops having let go of the ball 13 times that season, but he’s certainly moving in the right direction to get his career on track and be one of the big names in the league.
And when it comes to being a big name, he apparently wants to be paid like one, as he and the Steelers have reportedly entered contract negotiations, but things aren’t going all too well apparently.
What’s being said?
According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Johnson and the Steelers are ‘miles apart’ when it comes to what his value to the side is meant to be, with the report claiming that “according to a team source, the sides are so far apart from what Johnson is seeking and what the Steelers are willing to spend, the plausibility of getting a deal done before the Sept. 11 season opener in Cincinnati is slim.”
Johnson is in the final year of his initial four-year deal with the side, and the Steelers have long had a policy that they will not negotiate contracts during the season. So if they can’t get a deal done for Johnson before the first game, then he’ll be going into the season with a very uncertain future ahead of him.
Whether that helps him by giving him extra motivation, or hinders him by taking his foot off the gas so he doesn’t get injured and jeopardising his future, we’ll just have to wait and see. But ideally this will be all sorted out before then, that way it won’t even be a problem.