In discussing potential new big-money contracts for young receivers, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Diontae Johnson is often the fourth or fifth name mentioned.
"I'm not really worried about that," Johnson said about his contract status, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. "There's a lot of stuff going on out there, saying certain stuff about me.
"At the end of the day, I can only move forward and just control what I can control. I want to be here. I'm patient. I'm just going to keep working. My agent is going to do what he do in that situation, and I'm not going to focus on that."
The 25-year-old receiver enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract due $2.79 million in base salary, which he's vastly outperformed. In each of his three seasons with the Steelers, Johnson has improved, netting 680 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, tallying 923 yards and seven scores in Year 2, and catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight TDs in 2021.
This offseason, the receiver market has exploded, with Tyreek Hill topping the position with his $30 million-per-year deal. The explosion has thrust the number of receivers making $20 million per year into the double-digits.
"It's not like you don't see it," Johnson said of other receivers getting paid. "You see it. A bell rings in your head like, such and such got this and such and such got that. I try not to look at that or pocket watch. Whoever gets the contract, they deserve it. They obviously put in the time and work. My time is going to come. Just being patient. If it comes this year, it's a blessing. If it don't, keep working."
"Diontae is not a big talker," head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. "He's more of a doer and I can appreciate that, and I'm aligned with that. Just putting his head down and working every day.
"He's going to provide quality examples about how to go to work and that's going to aid guys like \[George\] Pickens in the maturation process because he has visual examples of what he needs to do and how he needs to do it."
With the Steelers' standard of not negotiating contracts during the regular season, sides have a few months left to get a deal done before a potential franchise tag comes into play in 2023.