Dolphins Potential FA Target: JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Miami Dolphins aren't likely to be as active in free agency this spring as they were in 2020, but they still should be looking to make some additions to their roster
Author:
Publish date:

With a huge amount of cap space and needs to address everywhere on the roster, the Miami Dolphins were very active in free agency in 2020.

Circumstances are a bit different this year, but the Dolphins still figure to try to use that avenue to further bolster their roster.

With that mind, we'll periodically examine pending unrestricted free agents around the NFL who either have been linked to the Dolphins or certainly would make sense as potential targets.

We start this series with a look at Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

VITALS

Smith-Schuster is 6-1, 215 and was born Nov. 22, 1996 in Long Beach, California. He was a second-round pick of the Steelers in the 2017 NFL draft. He had a base salary in 2020 of $1.04 million, according to overthecap.com, with a cap number of $1.335 million.

STATS

Smith-Schuster finished the 2020 season with 97 catches for 831 yards (8.6 average) and nine touchdowns. His best season came in 2018 when he had 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns and earned his one Pro Bowl invitation.

HOW HE FITS

Anyone who watched the Dolphins in 2020 understands the need for a proven wide receiver, and Smith-Schuster's ability in the slot will make him appealing to teams around the league.

The Dolphins used several players in that role last season, but the reality is they haven't had a receiver thrive in the slot since Jarvis Landry was traded to the Cleveland Browns following the 2017 season.

ESPN writer Bill Barnwell predicted in a story on the top pending free agent wide receivers that Smith-Schuster would sign a four-year deal with the Dolphins.

SCOUTING REPORT

From All Steelers publisher Noah Strackbein

"The four-year veteran became a leader much younger than most at the wide receiver position, and it's given him a head start in developing traits only NFL experience teaches you.

"He doesn't need multiple catches to build momentum in a game, has hands as reliable as they come, more speed than people give him credit for and carries his 6-1, 215-pound frame with a ton of strength. All while knowing how to implement himself into a game plan both as a weapon and a distraction to open up other receivers.

"As much as Smith-Schuster bleeds black and gold, and the city of Pittsburgh loves him, this love affair can't last. The Steelers have too many smaller pieces and too little money to make more than one splash re-signing this offseason and Mike Hilton or Cameron Sutton have first priority.

"Smith-Schuster will get his big contract outside of Pittsburgh."

THE BOTTOM LINE

Smith-Schuster attracted a lot of attention late in the 2020 season for his habit on dancing on the opposing team's logo for TikTok and then for his comment about the Cleveland Browns (Browns is the Browns) and those kind of antics doesn't necessarily mesh with the no-nonsense approach of Brian Flores.

There's also no escaping the fact that Smith-Schuster is a very young player with a lot of production as an NFL wide receiver.

Ultimately, how hard the Dolphins go after Smith-Schuster will depend on the kind of contract he's seeking in free agency, though from this vantage point the combination of his low 2020 yards-per-catch average, higher profile and final considerations make it a long shot he ends up in Miami.