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Steelers Should Get Ahead Of The Curve Once Again; Extend WR1 Diontae Johnson Before Other Elite WRs

Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Should Get Ahead Of The Curve Once Again; Extend WR1 Diontae Johnson Before Other Elite WRs

Nearly a week ago now, the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms with star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on a contract extension. Heading into the off-season, Fitzpatrick was one of three players primed for an extension. With the safety locked up long-term, general manager Omar Khan and the front office can now look toward Diontae Johnson and Chris Boswell.

Fitzpatrick became the league’s highest-paid safety with his four-year, $73 million deal, but that may not last for long. Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James and Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates are also in line for extensions at the moment and will likely ask for more than Fitzpatrick. In essence, the Steelers did a great job in getting his job done before the other safeties, as it likely would have come at a more costly price.

Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick

Pittsburgh Steelers safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick(#39) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the 2022 Minicamp on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (Karl Roser/ Pittsburgh Steelers)

This same verdict can be translated to the Diontae Johnson situation. Sure, we saw a guy similar to Johnson’s level in Hunter Renfrow get a two-year, $32 million extension from the Las Vegas Raiders. The Jacksonville Jaguars also signed Christian Kirk to an enormous four-year, $72 million deal earlier in the off-season. Johnson is better than both of those guys, as Kirk has never eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season.

Now is the time for the Steelers to extend Johnson, and they are probably figuring things out with him as we speak. But they need to extend him before the likes of Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin get even bigger deals. Those guys are all considered better than Johnson at the moment, and their contracts would force the Steelers’ hand significantly. Speaking of, that 2019 NFL Draft class of wideouts was pretty impressive. The class included Samuel, Metcalf, McLaurin, Johnson, Renfrow, as well Marquise Brown, the only first-rounder of the mentioned names. In other words, these guys are looking to get their first big paydays.

Steelers DK Metcalf Terrell Edmunds

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, DK Metcalf (#14) catches a touchdown over Pittsburgh Steelers safety, Terrell Edmunds (#34) at Heinz Field. | Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Extending Johnson now will save the Steelers money in the long-run and lock up a very good, nearly elite WR in the meantime. We’ve already seen them reap the benefits of doing so with Fitzpatrick. Some considered it a “team-friendly” deal, and the Steelers structured the contract in a way that they even gained $2 million in salary cap space with the extension. With over $20 million remaining, they have plenty of money to lock up Johnson, Boswell, and perhaps even sign DL Larry Ogunjobi, who visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

If there’s any question as it whether or not Diontae Johnson deserves around $20 million a year, just look at the market we just discussed. Additionally, he’s become the team’s biggest playmaker without a question. Without him, the Steelers wide receiver room would be one big question mark. Johnson enjoyed a career-best 2021 season, as he matured in a big way. He set career-highs in catches (107), receiving yards (1,161), touchdowns (8), along with his first Pro Bowl appearance.


Do you guys agree that they should extend Johnson before the other elite WRs? Do you think he’s worth around $20 million per year? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below regarding Diontae Johnson and his possible contract extension!




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Credit to my dad, I have been a lifelong Steelers fan. I have fond memories of watching the Steelers win two Super Bowls when I was a little kid. I have only been to 1 Steelers game in my life, which was in Kansas City. That was the notorious game where Antonio Brown pinned it against his chest down the sidelines for a touchdown. I hope to get to Heinz Field some day! I graduated from Iowa State University and look forward to growing as a writer with #SteelerNation!



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