With JuJu Smith-Schuster out for the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed on two wide receivers to compensate for Smith-Schuster’s absence.
Juju Smith-Schuster fans and fantasy managers were hit hard this week with the news that the electric Steelers wide receiver is now out for the season recovering from shoulder surgery.
As painful as the injury news is, the Steelers are forced to adapt in the middle of the season, picking up two key wide receivers to compensate for the loss of Smith-Schuster.
We have released NT Eli Ankou from the practice squad and signed WR Anthony Miller and DT Isaiah Mack to the practice squad.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 12, 2021
Steelers sign former Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster
Smith-Schuster, who was the 62nd-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is being replaced by Anthony Miller. Miller was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 51st-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
In July 2021, Miller was traded from the Bears to the Houston Texans. On October 6, Miller was released by the Texans. Miller has played in two games this season, logging five receptions for 23 yards.
While Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are still listed as healthy on the Steelers depth chart, these two wideouts serve different roles on the Steelers offense.
Smith-Schuster is a clutch slot receiver who ranked as one of the NFL’s best after his sophomore 2018 season. Earlier this summer, TouchdownWire’s Doug Farrar ranked Smith-Schuster the fourth-best slot receiver in the NFL. Because an aging Ben Roethlisberger has more recently opted for shorter routes, the uptick in looks has benefited Smith-Schuster.
In 2019, Smith-Schuster caught 25-of-38 slot targets for 316 yards and two touchdowns. In 2020, his numbers jumped to 39 slot receptions on 119 overall targets for 888 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Miller hasn’t exactly had a breakout season — his biggest year was getting 656 yards in 2019 — but he’s one of the best remaining NFL free agents mid-season.
No one can truly replace Juju, but ideally, Miller can make his mark this season and uplift the 2-3 Steelers from the bottom of the AFC North rankings.