The Pittsburgh Steelers made it a point to sign safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick to a record breaking, long term extension this off-season. On the other side of the ball, star wide receiver, Diontae Johnson remains without a new contract and some are even beginning to speculate if he might have a new home after the 2022 season is over. According to Alex Kay of Bleacher Report, the Steelers will be better off without Johnson after the season anyway. Kay named Johnson to be the organization’s most likely to disappoint and biggest bust for the upcoming season.
Before getting into his play on the field, Kay discussed the nature of Johnson’s contract status with the team and the lack of a new deal.
“According to The Athletic‘s Mark Kaboly, Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson isn’t happy with his current contract and is running out of time to get one done,” wrote Kay. Because the Steelers traditionally haven’t paid their wideouts and don’t negotiate new deals during the season, there is a real chance Johnson will be heading into his final season with the club.”
His contract, however, shouldn’t and won’t have any impact on his play on the field. If anything, the lack of an extension will drive Johnson to play even better. The better the season that he has, the more likely the Steelers or other teams are to try and sign him for a bunch of money come next off-season. The team and Johnson not agreeing to a deal before the season starts has little to no bearing on his efforts to help the Steelers win.
Johnson will have to get used to a new quarterback under center after Ben Roethlisberger‘s retirement. To Kay, that was one of the biggest reasons for Johnson being listed as the soon to be biggest bust for the Steelers this year.
“Johnson is coming off a career-best 107-reception, 1,161-receiving yard, eight-touchdown campaign. While he thrived with Ben Roethlisberger under center, he could be in line for a regression with either Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett taking over for the retired signal-caller.”
This is an argument that is extremely drawn out and easy to shut down. The Steelers offense was not good last year. Fresh legs and a new arm at quarterback could make Johnson even better. While he may not have another 100+ reception season, 1,000+ yards and eight touchdowns are extremely achievable goals for the wide receiver. There isn’t a Hall of Fame signal-caller on the roster, but there are guys who have a lot of talent and the ability to make some noise.
Kay touched on his ability to put up good numbers, but believes regression is bound to happen this season.
“Johnson should still be a force, but it’s doubtful he’ll hit those same lofty marks in 2022. That could hamper his earning power next off-season as he looks for a new deal.”
Altogether, there was not too much convincing of Johnson being considered the Steelers biggest bust throughout the next six months. He will have every opportunity to shine in what has the potential to be a more dynamic offense than a year ago.
Who are you thinking will be the biggest bust on the field for the Steelers this season? Let us know in the comments below!