The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to a two-year, $36.7 million contract extension with receiver Diontae Johnson, meaning he will end his "hold-in" and start participating fully in training camp. In the wake of this news, let's look at some season props for 2019 third-round pick out of Toledo. Johnson was entering the final year of his rookie contract and will get $27 million in guarantees. Until he agreed to the extension, Johnson had the 16th-highest cap hit on the Steelers roster.
Johnson had been the last remaining receiver hold-in from the 2019 draft class after Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf received significant extensions during the first week of training camp. Johnson is not on their level yet but did have a breakout 2021 season – despite some terrible quarterback play from since-retired Ben Roethlisberger – with 107 catches (on 169 targets) for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. He had just five drops for a career-low drop percentage of 3.0. By comparison, Samuel led all receivers with at least 100 catches with a drop percentage of 8.1.
The only receivers in the NFL last year to exceed both Johnson's yardage and TD totals were: Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs.
DraftKings lists Johnson at over/under 85.5 receptions, 1,000.5 receiving yards and 6.5 receiving TDs for 2022. The options are both -115 for the first two, but the Under is a -150 favorite on the TDs. He is +1800 to lead the NFL in receptions, +4000 in receiving yards and +3000 in receiving TDs.
Frankly, with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback (until rookie Kenny Pickett potentially takes over), Johnson leading any of those categories feels like a stretch. The only quarterback on the roster Johnson has played with in a game is Mason Rudolph. The Steelers also brought back Chase Claypool at wideout and have promising rookies in George Pickens and Calvin Austin III.
Holding in at camp (to avoid fines but not practice in full) is in vogue nowadays for a negotiating tactic. Previously, Pittsburgh defensive stars T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick did it and both got big extensions.
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