Pittsburgh drafted wide receiver Diontae Johnson in the third round (66th overall) to compete with Moncrief for snaps, Jacob Klinger of PennLive.com reports.
While JuJu Smith-Schuster is locked in as the far-and-away lead target, Pittsburgh otherwise figures to have an open competition between Moncrief, Johnson, James Washington, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer. The team has invested considerable resources in Johnson, Washington (2018 second-round pick) and Moncrief, the latter of whom signed a two-year, $9 million contract that pays out $5 million in 2019, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports. His contract essentially assures him of a spot on the 53-man roster, but Moncrief will need a strong summer to earn consistent snaps and targets come Week 1. He may end up competing with Johnson and Washington for one spot if the Steelers decide to move Smith-Schuster outside and use Switzer or Rogers as the primary slot receiver.
Moncrief joined the Jaguars on a one-year deal in 2018 and had an up-and-down season with 48 receptions for 668 yards and three touchdowns. The departure of Antonio Brown leaves a significant hole at wide receiver for the Steelers, and Moncrief looks to be their first move in filling his absence. JuJu Smith-Schuster is poised to step into the No. 1 role while Moncrief should serve as the second or third option at wide receiver for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Moncrief caught two of three targets for 21 yards to finish the season with 48 recpetions for 668 yards and three touchdowns.
Moncrief played in all 16 games for the first time since 2015 as he was able to avoid an significant injuries. The 2014 third-round pick signed a one-year, $9.6 million contract with the Jaguars for this season, and finished second on the team in receiving yards. The 25-year-old's numbers aren't great considering he was on a prove-it deal, but the fact Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler were leading Jacksonville's offense certainly factors into that, which is illustrated by his 53.9 percent catch rate. Moncrief heads into free agency for the second straight year coming off a sub-par season, though the fact he'll only be 26 years old by the start of the 2019 season definitely works in his favor.
Moncrief caught all four of his targets for 43 yards during Sunday's 17-7 win over Miami.
Sunday was a nice little rebound for Moncrief, who was held catchless for just the second time of the season during Week 15's loss to Washington. His 19-yarder in the fourth quarter Sunday set up a Jacksonville field goal that gave them a late lead. Such relatively small moments are about as good as it gets for Moncrief and his fellow receivers. The Jaguars' quarterbacks have failed to reach 200 yards in five of the last six games. It might be six out of seven come next Sunday as the Jaguars visit a Houston team that held Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles to 217 passing yards combined in Week 7.
Moncrief was unable to haul in either of his targets during Sunday's 16-13 loss to Washington.
Though he's been able to have a few solid games in terms of receptions, Moncrief has now been held under 50 yards in five consecutive contests. While there was hope early in the year that the Jaguars' run-first-and-play-defense model could add some timely passing, that doesn't seem like part of the equation at this point with ineffective quarterbacking from both Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler, who was held to 57 yards on Sunday, plaguing the team. Sunday should be more of the same, even against a Miami defense ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in receiving yardage surrendered.
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