Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson not worried about contract: 'I want to be here'

PITTSBURGH -- Amid hopes of a new contract, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson not only reported to mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, but he also took the field with his teammates and practiced.

"I'm not really worried about that," Johnson said about his contract status. "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."

Johnson, 25, is entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal and is due $2.79 million for his final season.

The Steelers don't negotiate contracts during the regular season, leaving just a couple of months for the team to get a deal done with their receiver before he hits the open market in 2023. Johnson doesn't anticipate holding out until a new contract comes to fruition.

"I'm just here to work, do what I'm told," he said. "Get the job done. That's pretty much my focus. Being around the guys."

Coach Mike Tomlin took notice of Johnson at minicamp and at OTAs last week, and while Johnson's presence is important for personal growth, he's also the quiet leader of the young wide receiver room.

"Diontae is not a big talker," 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 there'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."

This offseason, the market value of wide receivers skyrocketed. Tyreek Hill became the highest-paid wide receiver at $30 million per year with $52.5 million fully guaranteed, while the Oakland Raiders gave Davante Adams a deal worth $28 million per year with $22.7 million fully guaranteed. In all, seven wide receivers signed deals worth at least $20 million per year.

"It's not like you don't see it," Johnson said. "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."

Johnson was a top-10 receiver a year ago, finishing with 1,161 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. A late Pro Bowl selection last season, Johnson believes he's among the premier receivers in the league.

"Most definitely," Johnson said. "Film don't lie. That's all I'm going to speak on that. I'm going to keep playing."