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Receiver Diontae Johnson might want a new contract similar to the three-year, $70 million extension signed by Terry McLaurin, but he is unlikely get it from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“They aren’t offering him anything near McLaurin or anybody else that got more than $20 million per year,” Mark Kaboly of The Athletic said of the Steelers. “They will offer him something, and it won’t be what he thinks he can get on the market, and he will get paid next year somewhere else.”
Johnson is heading into the final year of his contract and has just a $3.1 million cap hit in 2022, ranked 63rd among NFL receivers, per Spotrac.
The 2019 third-round pick earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season after totaling 107 catches for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns, all career highs.
Johnson’s 254 receptions over three years are 32 more than McLaurin in the same timeframe and the most from a draft class that also includes DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel and others.
McLaurin and Brown already got extensions this offseason, while Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp are among the receivers who also signed new deals. Heading into 2022, 12 different receivers are averaging $20 million per year.
Johnson has certainly noticed the other players at his position getting paid while he seeks his own deal.
“It’s not like you don’t see it,” Johnson said last month. “You see it. A bell rings in your head like, such and such got this and such and such got that. I try not to look at that or pocket watch. Whoever gets the contract, they deserve it. They obviously put in the time and work. My time is going to come. Just being patient. If it comes this year, it’s a blessing. If it don’t, keep working.”
With the Steelers’ offers seemingly far away from his desired raise, it seems likely Johnson will play this season without a new deal and hit free agency in 2023.