The Kansas City Chiefs already have a high-powered offense without JuJu Smith-Schuster. If the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't come calling, the Chiefs would have landed Smith-Schuster as their No. 2 wide receiver in 2021 and beyond.
Smith-Schuster, who chose re-signing with the Steelers instead of joining the Chiefs in free agency, unveiled Kansas City was going to be his destination if Pittsburgh hadn't made an offer.
"Just seeing K.C. and bro, Andy Reid was just calling me and he was sending me Lombardi Trophy pictures like constantly. We had a good talk, so it would've been K.C. after the Steelers," Smith-Schuster said on The Michael Irvin Podcast, via NFL.com. "Being somewhere in an atmosphere and environment, knowing where the team knows you, they know your history, they know how you are, how to use you and stuff like that. Coming back and knowing that I would have Ben (Roethlisberger) back for one more year and playing my last year, it was just like, 'Yo, I'm gonna take my chance, I'm gonna play with Ben.'"
Another season with Roethlisberger drove Smith-Schuster to come back to Pittsburgh, instead of playing with arguably the game's best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes for multiple seasons. Smith-Schuster does have some incentive here, playing on a one-year contract worth up to $8 million that he can parlay into a bigger deal when he hits the open market again in 2022.
Smith-Schuster is just the third player to register 250 catches before his 24th birthday and he's the youngest player in NFL history to reach 2,500 career receiving yards (22 years, 297 days). He is the fourth-youngest player in league history to reach 3,000-career receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns.
The Chiefs weren't the only offer that Smith-Schuster had, as the wide receiver turned down a contract offer from the Baltimore Ravens. Smith-Schuster just didn't see himself succeeding in Baltimore.
"I'm curious to see how they're going to be this year having Sammy Watkins and how they're going to use him and throwing the ball and stuff like that," Smith-Schuster said. "Lamar [Jackson]'s a really, a heavy run offense with the backs that he has. I just, just point being facts. His No. 1 target was [Mark] Andrews, who's a tight end.
"But I think with me it's more so staying home, staying loyal. In my situation, we have a new offensive coordinator, Ben's coming back, my relationship with my receiver coach, Ike Hilliard, is amazing. You can't beat that."