First Call: Steelers website says club has ‘interest’ in Tyrann Mathieu; Steven Nelson’s new home; Baker Mayfield ‘disrespected’

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have eyes on Tyrann Mathieu after all. An ex-Steelers defensive back has a new home. Baker Mayfield isn’t happy. The New York Rangers gain ground on the Penguins. And a Pirates name from days gone by just picked up a major league win.

All that in Thursday’s “First Call.”


Honey Badger bucks

A school of thought that exists is that the Steelers must not have an interest in signing safety Tyrann Mathieu.

After all, they have an obvious need at safety. Mathieu is lingering in free agency, unsigned. So if they wanted him, they would’ve signed him.

Right? According to the franchise’s own website, not so fast.

In a Tuesday Q&A post, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com made it sound like the team may actually want the “Honey Badger,” but only if his asking price for a contract drops.

“The Steelers have an interest in signing Tyrann Mathieu, and they would have enough cap space to sign him to a two-year contract for what they believe he is worth. The issue is whether Mathieu agrees with the Steelers’ assessment about what he is worth,” Labriola said.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Steelers are sitting at $13.2 million in cap space. That’s 18th in the NFL. But they still have numerous veteran contracts that they could restructure if needed.

Mathieu made $14.5 million in salary last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, via Spotrac.

ProFootballTalk says that “the Rams, Eagles and Saints have all been reported to have interest in Mathieu, although reports have suggested that he’s not particularly close to signing with anyone.”


Nelson’s new home

Steven Nelson has a new place to play.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the ex-Steelers cornerback is signing a two-year, $10 million deal to join the Houston Texans.

Nelson played two solid seasons in Pittsburgh from 2019-20. After leaving the Steelers for Philadelphia in 2021, he recorded 50 total tackles with an interception and seven passes defended.


Boo-Hoo Baker

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t happy with his current situation, and he’s letting the world know it.

Appearing on the “YNK” podcast, Mayfield said he feels “disrespected” by the Cleveland Browns after they traded for former Texans QB Deshaun Watson last month. Essentially, that ended Mayfield’s run in Cleveland after four seasons.

However, the former No. 1 overall draft pick has yet to be released or traded.

“I was told one thing and they completely did another,” Mayfield groused, adding, “I’m ready for the next chapter.”

The Browns are believed to be actively looking to trade Mayfield. The former Oklahoma Sooner claims the Seattle Seahawks are “probably the most likely option” for him. They recently traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.

Mayfield is under a fully guaranteed contract of $18.9 million for 2022 since Cleveland picked up his fifth-year option before last season.


‘Pheeling it’ in Philly

The New York Rangers moved closer to first place in the Metropolitan Division on Wednesday night.

They put some more distance between themselves and the Penguins for second place, as well.

New York shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 on the road behind 28 saves from Alexandar Georgiev. Kaapo Kakko pitched in with two goals.

The Rangers now have 102 points, two behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Metro. The Penguins are in third with 95.

On Thursday, the Pens host the Islanders. Meanwhile, the Canes welcome the Detroit Red Wings, and the fourth place Washington Capitals (92 points) visit the Toronto Maple Leafs. All of those games start at 7 p.m.


He’s still around?

Oliver Perez got the win for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

Yes. That Oliver Perez. The one who last pitched for the Pirates in 2006. He’s 40 now and has already appeared in three games for the DBacks, making $1.25 million this season.

Perez induced a ground ball in the top of the 10th inning to retire the only man he faced. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Arizona won 3-2 thanks to this dropped fly ball Houston Astros outfielder Chas McCormick.

Prior to that miscue, McCormick had three hits on the day. Arizona had lost its previous four games by a combined score of 20-8.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.