Pro Football Focus recently detailed numerous NFL players who are due for “big-money extensions” and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, unsurprisingly, was on their list.

Johnson, who was drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Steelers, is coming off the best season of his young career.

The former Toledo standout caught 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns last season (all career highs).

Here’s what PFF had to say about Johnson’s contract situation:

This situation has probably been the least talked about of all the receivers. Just like Metcalf, Samuel and McLaurin, Johnson is also entering the final year of his rookie contract. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season with 107 receptions, 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns — culminating in a career-high 74.2 PFF grade.

The Steelers just got done with Minkah Fitzpatrick, so Johnson would logically be the next man up for a long-term deal. But talks are in the early stages, and it’s fair to wonder if Pittsburgh will load up the Brinks truck for a wide receiver considering where the market is and their consistent draft success at the position. Reminder: Pittsburgh just used a second-round pick on George Pickens and a fourth-round pick on Calvin Austin III.

Steelers
Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) runs on his way to scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson will be a free agent after the 2022 season.

With the way the wide receiver market has exploded in recent months, there’s no doubt that Johnson will be looking for a mega-extension.

Pittsburgh, however, would be wise to wait until after the season to address Johnson’s contract (especially after extending Minkah Fitzpatrick).

The Steelers are in a good spot where they could have a motivated Johnson in 2022 (no one plays harder than a player in a contract year) and then instead of extending him, they could franchise tag him and then trade him next offseason (basically what the Green Bay Packers did with Davante Adams earlier this offseason).

Pittsburgh is in a situation where they can deal Johnson for draft picks (if he improves in 2022 then he could fetch a first-round pick) and still be in good shape at wide receiver with Chase Claypool (who swears he’s a top-three NFL wide receiver), George Pickens, and Calvin Austin III.

Or maybe Pittsburgh decides that Johnson needs to be part of their future plans. Either way, the Steelers are in a good position with whatever decision they make.

Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK