The Steelers and wide receiver Diontae Johnson have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $36.71 million, per Mike Garafolo. The deal comes after Johnson took the T.J Watt-style “hold in” approach so far this camp, working by himself while avoiding team practices.
The deal keeps Johnson under team control until 2024, where he can possibly try his hand at free agency. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to return on a new deal after that.
What this contract means for Diontae Johnson, Steelers
Getting Johnson to agree to a below-market deal even after other 2019 draft picks (D.K Metcalf, A.J Brown, Deebo Samuel just to name a few) all received $20+ million per season on their new deals is huge for new GM Omar Khan.
Johnson is far from a perfect player, but his impact for a QB room who is young and unproven cannot be understated. He has been the #1 target for the offense the past two seasons for a reason.
Johnson wins often and early against man coverage with elite quickness and route running savvy. That will be a must against teams trying to load the box to stop Najee Harris. He will also help the other receivers by pulling coverage away from them.
Johnson isn’t as complete a receiver or as dominant as some of his fellow 2019 draft picks, which is likely why he falls shy of their contract price tags. He has also had a few games in his career where he struggles to do anything right out of nowhere.
Overall, this deal makes a ton of sense for both sides. Johnson gets a hefty raise for the next few seasons while still being under 30 when the deal is up.
The Steelers meanwhile retain their top target from the past two seasons to help develop their new quarterbacks. He will especially help first-round pick Kenny Pickett adjust to the speed of the NFL by giving him somewhere to go with the ball early in plays. Hard not to be happy with this deal as a Steelers fan.