The Facts: Art Rooney II can only make so much of Smith-Schuster’s 2019 season, too. Lightly echoing HC Mike Tomlin's comments at the end of the season, the team owner and president noted that the once-rising star receiver was injured, and playing with backup quarterbacks. Smith-Schuster would be due for a contract extension as he’s approaching the final year of his rookie contract. “Well again, it was a tough season to evaluate with the different quarterbacks and some of JuJu’s injuries so it’s a tough season to evaluate from a lot of different standpoints," Rooney said.
Diehards Line:Pittsburgh, as a matter of policy, only renews deals for non-quarterbacks. The club also doesn’t negotiate deals once the regular season. Typically, the Steelers ink those extensions in August, or for priority players like Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger, in the late winter or spring. But Smith-Schuster caught all of 42 passes for 552 yards and 3 touchdowns in 12 games last season. It’s likely not in his interest to negotiate a contract this offseason. That said, while like Tomlin, Rooney acknowledged much of what was working against Smith-Schuster in 2019, the owner also went further, affirming his desire for Smith-Schuster to be a Steelers wideout well into the future: "Obviously we still think highly of JuJu and still think he’s going to be an outstanding player in the league moving forward and we will address the contract situation when it’s appropriate.”