With all the drama surrounding Le’Veon Bell, Ben Roethisberger, Antonio Brown and the Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster has quietly posted one of the best receiving seasons in NFL history, seemingly gone un-noticed by anyone other than his teammates, who voted him the team MVP.
If JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t play on a team with Antonio Brown, we’d talk about him like we talk about Odell/Nuk/Michael Thomas. He just put up a 111 catch, 1426 yard season in year 2.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) January 1, 2019
Granted the comparisons contain a multitude of variables, the most important of which are the quarterback, the protection of that QB, double-teams and play calling, but here’s how the statistics break down:
Odell Beckham’s best season came in 2015 for the Giants, posting 96 receptions for 1,450 yards and 13 TDs. Compare that to Smith-Schuster’s 2018, where he caught 111 balls for 1426 yards all while not even being the most targeting WR on his own team. Compare that to Beckham’s 2015 targets, where he was thrown to 34 more times than the next most targeted receiver.
The output is even more astounding when you compare what teams are paying relative to production. Beckham is making an average of $18 million per season on his current contract while the second highest is Antonio Brown, making an average of $17 million.
Smith-Schuster is currently making an average of just over $1 million.
There have only been 13 players in the last 20 years who have posted a 110 catch, 1,400 yard season. At least 9 of them are headed to Canton. Smith-Schuster just did it in his sophomore season at 22 years old.