Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan confirms contract conversations with WR Diontae Johnson amid hold-in

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LATROBE, Pa. — Though Pittsburgh Steelers put on pads Monday, wide receiver Diontae Johnson is still attending practice without them.

Johnson is the last remaining wide receiver hold-in from the 2019 draft class after Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf received significant extensions during the first week of training camp. The Steelers have engaged in conversations with Johnson’s representatives, general manager Omar Khan said in his Tuesday news conference.

“Conversations we have with Diontae and his representatives are going to stay between us,” he said. “We won’t discuss them publicly. But, we’ve been in conversations.”

Asked about Johnson’s hold-in — he’s only participated in individual drills through the first week of camp — Khan declined to criticize his wide receiver’s lack of team participation.

“Obviously you want everyone out practicing but we’ve taken the approach that, we were using it as an opportunity to look at the other guys that are practicing — especially the young guys get some good work,” Khan said. “We want Diontae, and we’re excited to have Diontae as part of this team. We hope he’s going to be a Steeler for a long time.”

Johnson is the third Steeler to use a hold-in as a bargaining chip after both T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick sat out team periods during training camp and minicamp, respectively. Each eventually received a massive extension.

“I obviously I want to be out there, but you know, certain circumstances, it’s just part of a part of the business,” Johnson said last week. “I’m just going to let that take care of itself.”

Johnson, a third-round pick out of Toledo, is in the final year of his rookie contract and is currently owed about $3 million for the 2022 season. Metcalf and the Seahawks agreed on a three-year extension worth $72 million last week, while Samuel and the 49ers agreed to a three-year extension worth a maximum of $73.5 million on Sunday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“Obviously when things happen,” Khan said of the recent WR extensions, “it adds to the conversation, let me put it that way.”


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Brooke Pryor

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