Should the Chicago Bears sign JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are pressed up against the salary cap and they do not seem interested in re-signing JuJu Smith-Schuster. This makes him one of the bigger names to hit the market this offseason. The Chicago Bears have a serious need at wide receiver and while they are going to try to bring back Allen Robinson, it is not guaranteed.
Would the Bears be better off attempting to sign JuJu Smith-Schuster?
Sign JuJu Smith-Schuster
You have to double-take when you see how young JuJu Smith-Schuster is. JuJu is 24 years old and will not turn 25 until late into next season. To put that into perspective, Anthony Miller, who was drafted a year later than Smith-Schuster is over two full years older than Smith-Schuster.
In fact, even Riley Ridley, and Javon Wims are older than JuJu. The Bears got Allen Robinson signed for his age 25-27 seasons. A three year deal for JuJu would be his age 24-26 seasons. He would turn 27 in November of 2024. They are swapping out Robinson for a younger wide receiver, but one with plenty of accomplishments.
Through age 25, he is 10th all-time in receiving yards behind Randy Moss, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, David Boston, and Hakeem Nicks.
The upside he provides at his age and experience is enormous. Beyond that, you have a wide receiver who consistently finished in the top ten with low drop rates, and a player who excels in the quick passing game, working after the catch. His physicality is exactly what Matt Nagy and his demeanor comes off as someone Nagy would appreciate in the locker room as well.
Do no Sign JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster has slowly turned into a full-time slot receiver. In his rookie season, he was 50% slot and 50% outside. However, the following season he ran 59% of routes in the slot. Those were with Antonio Brown. With Brown gone, many thought he would step into the number one role. However, they just moved him into the slot more with 63% and 79% usage in the past two years respectively. Yes, 79% slot player.
Smith-Schuster is not an upgrade from Allen Robinson but rather an upgrade from Anthony Miller. It is fair that JuJu Smith-Schuster is younger, better, more consistent, and less of a locker room issue than Miller. On the other side, upgrading from Miller is a luxury when they have a potential gaping hole losing Robinson.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to get paid less than Robinson, but fair market value, which is about $16 million. That is too much for a slot receiver.