JuJu Smith-Schuster Could Be Set For A Career Year In 2022

 JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs have made a deal with free-agent wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

At first glance, Smith-Schuster has a significant contract that’s one year for $10.75 million.

However, most of this salary will hinge on his play during the 2022 season.

Of the $10.75 million, only $2.49 million is fully guaranteed with a per-game bonus of up to $510,000.

He had some excellent seasons in Pittsburgh, but his stats were never consistent.

That might have been a factor in the Chiefs offering a contract like this to him.

But will Smith-Schuster have a breakout year in 2022 to cash in on his contract?

Chiefs Are Banking On Improvement With Incentive-Based Contract

With only $2.49 million guaranteed, that leaves $8.26 million for Smith-Schuster to earn.

The Chiefs have clearly looked at his previous stats with the Steelers.

Some of his past seasons have been impressive.

Other stats have seen him disappoint those who saw him as an elite replacement for Antonio Brown.

But it looks like the Chiefs hope making an incentive deal with him will bring him back to the time of his best performances in Pittsburgh.

It will also show if he is hungry for the additional money by hitting those milestones in the contract.

If he proves he is hungry for all the incentive money, he will have that career year in 2022.

Patrick Mahomes Loves To Pass

Another factor in Smith-Schuster’s chances of a career year is quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes’s record of passing the ball gives Smith-Schuster plenty of chances to get his catches and yards.

While Tyreek Hill is the clear number one on the team, Smith-Schuster will still have opportunities to get his touches.

He can be the player that takes the pressure off Hill.

That means he could get most of the catches until defenses switch over to covering him instead of Hill.

Mahomes knows how to pick a defense apart and can use him to do that against the defense.

Smith-Schuster Does Better As A Number Two Receiver

His best two seasons in the NFL came when he was the number two behind Brown.

They will use him as the number two behind Hill with the Chiefs.

That gives him the chance of having a breakout season.

It was the case in Pittsburgh when he was number two behind Brown.

So it has a chance of being the case here in Kansas City.

Defenses can’t double team every receiver they play.

With Hill and Smith-Schuster, they have to make a choice.

If they double one, the other will have single coverage and could beat it easily.

Mahomes is a quarterback that can execute when he sees his player in single coverage.

You are more likely to get that single coverage as a number two.

When Mahomes sees that, he will get the ball to him.

All Smith-Schuster Needs To Do Is Focus On Running His Routes

If he wants the money and to break his previous career stats, he needs to focus on route running.

If he can do that, Mahomes will get him the ball.

With that opportunity, he could have a career year in 2022.

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