The Bucs could to look to capitalize on a receiver who’s stock is down
While the Bucs are bringing back receiver Chris Godwin on the franchise tag that could potentially turn into a long term contract, there are still questions regarding the depth of the Bucs receiver room. Breshad Perriman has an expiring contract and players like Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Jaelon Darden may not have done enough to have one of them secure themselves as the Bucs number three receiver heading into next season. If the team looks to the free agency market to find a capable third receiver, one of the top options on the market could be JuJu Smith-Schuster.
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Career Thus Far
JuJu Smith-Schuster has been a very interesting receiver in the early portions of his young career. During his first five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith-Schuster has been very up and down finishing the 2018 season with over 1400 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns, but has not had another 1000 yard season at any other point in his career. A big reason for that is injuries. JuJu Smith-Schuster missed 12 games last season due to a shoulder injury and has missed multiple games in three of his five seasons in the league.
Why it Works
The Bucs have a need at the third receiver position. Will Breshad Perriman slated to be a free agent, as well as players such as Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden, and Tyler Johnson not performing as well as expected last season, there is a strong chance the Bucs look to the draft or free agency for who their third receiving option will be. JuJu Smith-Schuster may have his price lowered in the open market due to the lack of solid production in recent years as well as injury concerns moving forward which could leave an opportunity for the team to swoop in and sign him.
There is also a chance that the market on Smith-Schuster is strong as there are many teams who are desperate for a number two and even a number one receiver and could view Smith-Schuster in that role. The Bucs may also want to continue the development of players like Tyler Johnson who would probably be one of the first players the team looks to when filling that number three receiver role.
What’s the Cost
Figuring out a cost for Smith-Schuster is a tough process. Making eight million dollars from the Steelers last season, one could assume Smith-Schuster could make more if teams are willing to pay for the potential and upside that Smith-Schuster brings. However, there is also an argument to be made that due to injury concerns and questions as to whether or not JuJu can be a top receiving option in the league are reasons as to why JuJu’s price tag could be lower than what he made last season.
What We Don’t Know
We don’t know what other teams are going to have JuJu’s price tag at once he hits free agency. While some teams may be concerned over the injury history, there also may be teams who are willing to bet that Smith-Schuster can still be a very productive receiver for their team and will spend more money to acquire him.
Make the Decision
I don’t believe that Smith-Schuster will be coming to Tampa Bay. While it would be fun to see JuJu, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin all team up together to decimate opposing defenses, I think that the market for Smith-Shcuster will be too strong for the Bucs to compete despite what concerns there might be with injuries and overall production. Someone is going to give JuJu a good amount of money and view him as a top receiving option on their team and I don’t think it will be the Bucs.
But what do you think, Bucs Nation?