Gerry Dulac: Diontae Johnson was wise to go with the safe bet

Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH — "We would love to have him be with the Steelers for the rest of his career."

— GM Kevin Colbert on RB Le'Veon Bell, February 2018

"We want Bud Dupree to finish his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler."

— GM Kevin Colbert, February 2020

"We hope he's going to be a Steeler for a long time."

— GM Omar Khan on WR Diontae Johnson, Aug. 2, 2022


Well, they got one of 'em right.

The decision by wide receiver Diontae Johnson to suddenly lessen his contractual desires and sign a new three-year, $39.5 million contract that included a $17.5 million signing bonus was a wise and risk-free move by him and a team-friendly one for the Steelers.

Johnson's case, of course, was distinctly different from the situations that confronted Bell and Dupree. He still had a year remaining on his rookie contract. Bell and Dupree were unrestricted free agents who would eventually have the franchise tag placed on them by the Steelers. Bell and Dupree each ended up playing one more season with the Steelers under the franchise tag, but neither player ever signed another contract with them. In Bell's case, he actually turned down an offer on a long-term deal from the Steelers in his search of more money.

But even though the two sides were far apart in contract talks while Johnson continued his "hold-in" during training camp, a deal quickly came together Wednesday night for several reasons, one of which was Mike Tomlin encouraging both sides to come to some form of agreement. The other was Johnson and his representation deciding it was time to get something done.


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