NY Giants rumors: JuJu Smith-Schuster could be offense’s game-changer

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

NY Giants rumors are swirling ahead of free agency, and JuJu Smith-Schuster could be an ideal WR target

The NY Giants are expected to be shopping at the top of the wide receiver market in free agency, and prioritize the position in the 2021 NFL Draft, but JuJu Smith-Schuster could be the most impactful addition.

Smith-Schuster, 24, is set to become a free agent for the first time next week after catching 97 passes for 831 yards and nine touchdowns for the Steelers last season, despite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s rapid decline over the final month of the season.

Adding Smith-Schuster could untap the NY Giants’ vertical passing game and help shepherd the next phase of quarterback Daniel Jones’ development.

According to NFL.com’s Cynthia Freelund, Smith-Schuster alone has the potential to add a little more than one victory to the NY Giants’ win total:

"I really wanted to list two teams here, just to show the impact that a slot receiver can have, especially in the red zone. As for Smith-Schuster’s fit with the Giants, eight of his nine touchdowns in 2020 came from the slot (tied for the most, with Travis Kelce, per NGS). New York QBs had a passer rating when targeting the slot of just 82.3 last season, second-lowest in the NFL. On a roster that also boasts a returning Saquon Barkley, Smith-Schuster could easily fulfill the role of a No. 1 WR."

There is little doubt that Smith Schuster’s ability to make plays deep downfield, and get behind a defense, would be a welcomed addition to Jones’ arsenal. However, in order to be an ideal fit, Smith-Schuster would need to prove he’s equally capable of being a downfield playmaker lining up outside, as in the slot, because of Sterling Shepard’s productivity inside.

Nevertheless, if the NY Giants are unable to land former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay, Smith-Schuster along with a rookie chosen in the first two rounds of next month’s NFL Draft 2021 could take the Giants’ offense to new heights.

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Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.