Why Diontae Johnson has no leverage in a contract dispute

Diontae Johnson may be coveting a new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’ll need to get some leverage first.

There’s not much receiver Diontae Johnson can do before the final year of his rookie contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Johnson may have just wrapped up his first Pro Bowl campaign, but the former third-round pick from Toledo will have to wait another offseason before getting the NFL free agency sack. A Pro Bowl-level second season could give Johnson the chance to get a franchise or strike a long-term deal before 2023, whether or not that money comes from the Steelers.

But right now, Johnson has absolutely no leverage in the situation when it comes to making the bank.

Diontae Johnson is yet to influence the Pittsburgh Steelers

There are several factors that play into Johnson having virtually no bargaining power in any potential contract dispute with the Steelers. The first is, quite simply, the organization he plays for. Pittsburgh is about as good as anyone at scouting, drafting and developing wide receiver talent. The Steelers also added Chase Claypool and George Pickens from Johnson.

Not only are the Steelers keen to identify wide receivers who will work in the NFL out of college, but more and more quality wide receivers are entering the league to start. We can thank the seven-on-seven culture for that. The other big factor is the number of former Pittsburgh wide receivers who have done extraordinary things on the football field since leaving. I’ll wait.

Even though Johnson’s camp has no leverage right now, the best thing he can do is jump into his contract season. If he strikes up a great relationship with Kenny Pickett, you’d think Johnson should stick with the Steelers for the long haul, right? While his big payday is surely coming, Johnson is not set to secure that second most crucial contract until March next year.

How Johnson plays this coming season will determine what his next contract might look like.