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Pittsburgh Steelers ‘far apart’ on Diontae Johnson contract extension

Matt Johnson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is entering a contract year and looking to join his peers as one of the highest paid NFL players. However, negotiations between him and the organization reportedly aren’t going well.

Johnson, a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, skipped OTAs out of frustration due to dissatisfaction with the lack of substantial talks with the franchise. While the Steelers have some interest in extending their best wide receiver, how they value him seems to be in stark contrast to Johnson’s perception f his talent and value.

  • Diontae Johnson stats (2021): 1,161 receiving yards, 59 first downs, eight touchdowns

With training camp underway, Pittsburgh is engaged in conversations with one of its youngest playmakers in a contract year. As of now, though, the writing on the wall seems to indicate a deal won’t be happening.

Related: Pittsburgh Steelers offering Diontae Johnson ‘below market value

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Johnson and the Steelers are ‘miles apart’ at the negotiating table. While head coach Mike Tomlin wants to keep Pittsburgh’s No. 1 pass-catcher, there is reportedly a ‘slim’ chance the two sides can figure out a long-term deal by Week 1.

Addressing the matter further, Dulac wrote that the Steelers have no interest in approaching a deal that is anywhere close to what the highest-paid wide receivers signed this offseason.

“It is not known what Johnson is seeking, but the Steelers do not appear prepared to pay what some other top receivers in the league have been fetching, including San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel, who signed a three-year, $73.5 million extension the other day. Also, the Seattle Seahawks signed receiver DK Metcalf to a three-year, $72 million contract extension last week.”

Gerry Dulac on Pittsburgh Steelers approach to Diontae Johnson contract extension (H/T Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

The organization’s stance likely has a lot to do with recent draft picks. Pittsburgh spent the 52nd pick on George Pickens and the 138th overall pick on Calvin Austin, adding two complementary wideouts with bright futures. It adds to the pool of young talent on rookie contracts, including quarterback Kenny Pickett, running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freirmuth.

It shouldn’t have an impact on the volume of targets Johnson will see in 2022, with another 1,000-yard campaign very possible. However, it now feels like it would be a surprise if Johnson is wearing a Steelers uniform next season.