Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is resigning with the Steelers on a 1-year, $8 million deal, according to NFL Network. Smith-Schuster reportedly chose this path over similar offers from the Ravens and Chiefs that added more money via incentives. So he'll remain in Pittsburgh on a "prove it" contract for 2021. Smith-Schuster's return complicates the target picture for him, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh was the league's 3rd most pass-heavy team in 2020, trailing only the 1-15 Jaguars. The Steelers dumped OC Randy Fichtner and turned to QBs coach Matt Canada. We'd bet on at least a bit more balance to the play-calling in 2019. Check out our 2021 fantasy football rankings to see how the return impacts our numbers for Smith-Schuster and other Steelers pass-catchers -- as well as QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter adds that Smith-Schuster turned down a multi-year offer from the Eagles.
The Steelers have promoted QB coach Matt Canada to OC. The 48-year-old had been in that previous role for just 1 season, spending the rest of his coaching career in the college ranks. Canada had 9 different OC stints, most recently with LSU in 2017 and Maryland in 2018. Those teams ranked 76th and 69th, respectively, in points per game.
The Steelers are parting ways with OC Randy Fichtner, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Fichtner has been with the team since 2007, taking over as OC in 2018. The Steelers offense struggled mightily down the stretch this season, averaging just 22.1 points and 347 yards over the final 7 games. There were also whispers of a bit of a power struggle between Fichtner and QB Ben Roethlisberger. We'll see who the Steelers tab as their next OC -- and if Roethlisberger returns for 2021.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that QB Mason Rudolph will start this weekend's finale vs. the Browns. Pittsburgh can't fall past the #3 seed and can only climb to #2 if the Bills lose at home to the Dolphins. So QB Ben Roethlisberger, whose arm has looked tired lately, will get the week off. Tomlin said "the vast majority of guys will be playing" vs. Cleveland, but we wouldn't be surprised if guys like James Conner, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster at least had their snaps limited.
The Ravens had no new positive COVID tests on Saturday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and their game vs. the Steelers is still on for Tuesday night. QB Lamar Jackson, RB J.K. Dobbins and RB Mark Ingram -- along with a host of others -- will miss the game on the Baltimore side. Pittsburgh will be without RB James Conner.
This week's Ravens-Steelers game is "tentatively" being moved to Tuesday night, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That's presumably if Baltimore doesn't have any more COVID positives. There still seems to be a decent chance that this game isn't played in Week 12. Even if they play on Tuesday, QB Lamar Jackson, RB J.K. Dobbins and RB Mark Ingram will remain out. Stay tuned.
The NFL has moved this week's Steelers-Ravens game from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon as Baltimore deals with a COVID outbreak. For now, the only impact is a 2-game, rather than 3-game, Thanksgiving slate. We'll continue to keep an eye on the situation in Baltimore. We imagine more COVID positives could push the game out of this week.
Sustained winds of 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50 are expected for today's Bengals-Steelers game. This was already a tough spot for Cincinnati's passing game. We've also scaled back our projections for QB Ben Roethlisberger and his pass-catchers. Avoid Ks Chris Boswell and Randy Bullock today.
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (back) is out for Sunday’s game against the Browns. That guarantees that WR Chase Claypool will play a top-3 role and makes him much easier to trust in Week 6 fantasy lineups.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac expects the Steelers to get WR Chase Claypool involved in the offense "quickly." Dulac calls the rookie 1 of the stars of training camp. Claypool figures to open the season as Pittsburgh's #4 WR behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington -- although we could see him eat into Washington's snaps. We'll keep an eye on Claypool's playing time early on.
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson missed his 5th straight day of practice Monday, according to DKPittsburghSports.com. Johnson sustained an "apparent calf injury" and has yet to take the field since. The team hasn't announced any specifics, and it doesn't seem we need to worry too much about this issue yet. But we'll certainly monitor Johnson's status and watch for his return. Missing significant time would increase opportunity for WRs James Washington and Chase Claypool.
Steelers WR James Washington has been placed on the COVID list. A prolonged absence might give rookie Chase Claypool a chance to claim Pittsburgh's #3 WR job, which belongs to Washington for now. We'll see when he's able to get back on the field. RB Jaylen Samuels was also placed on the COVID list.
The Steelers drafted Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He was notably announced as a WR. That’s where he played in college, but many scouts think he’d be better at TE. Claypool brings a freaky combination of size and athleticism. The 6’4, 238-pounder clocked a 4.42-second 40 time with a 40.5-inch vertical at the Combine. He finished with a 98th percentile SPARQ score. We didn’t see that level of athleticism on tape, though. It takes him a while to get to full speed, and he’s a bit lumbering when changing direction. On the plus side, he’s strong in contested situations and is tough to bring down after the catch. Claypool will battle with Diontae Johnson and James Washington for snaps behind JuJu Smith-Schuster.
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