JuJu Smith-Schuster details why he didn’t sign with the Ravens in free agency

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Kevin Oestreicher
·3 min read
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The Baltimore Ravens were known to have interest in Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, who opted to return to Pittsburgh on a one-year deal. It was rumored that he was deciding between the Steelers, the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs, but ultimately wanted to try and win a championship with Ben Roethlisberger and company.

In an interview with Michael Irvin, Smith-Schuster detailed his free agency process, including which team he would have chosen if he didn’t end up re-signing with the Steelers, and why he didn’t sign with Baltimore.

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With Smith-Schuster detailing that he would have signed with the Chiefs over the Ravens plus his comments as to why Baltimore wasn’t the right fit for him, plenty of people assumed that he didn’t want to play with Lamar Jackson. However, he said that he was appreciative of the Ravens’ recruiting efforts, as multiple players reached out to him in an effort to bring him to Charm City.

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Smith-Schuster would have been a nice addition to the Ravens passing game, as the former USC Trojan has put up 308 receptions for 3,726 yards and 26 touchdowns throughout his four year career. However, he played primarily as a slot receiver in 2020, where the Ravens already have Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche vying for snaps. Add in the newly signed Sammy Watkins, and there are a lot of bodies competing for reps in the slot in Baltimore. While Smith-Schuster can play on the outside, Watkins has more experience doing so, and because of that, it seems that Watkins could allow the Ravens’ young receivers to get more snaps in the slot than Smith-Schuster would have.

If Smith-Schuster truly wanted to play in a pass happy offense, then choosing to stay in Pittsburgh was the right choice for him. John Harbaugh said in an interview before free agency that he wasn’t going to beg anyone to come to Baltimore, and he stayed true to that with Smith-Schuster. After signing Watkins to a one-year deal, the Ravens got someone who has already bought into what the team is about and the offense that they run. If Smith-Schuster didn’t believe in it, then things worked out for all parties involved.