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First Call: Actual odds of Deshaun Watson joining Steelers; NFL salary cap update

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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson looks to the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Indianapolis.

Want the actual odds of Deshaun Watson winding up with the Steelers? We got ‘em.

We also have some NFL salary cap projections. Happy returns for Joe Musgrove. And an update on Robert Morris hockey.

All that in Wednesday’s “First Call.”

Watson watch

Pittsburgh sports talk radio is gaining steam when it comes to conversation about the prospect of the Steelers trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson isn’t happy with ownership in Houston, and the word is he may ask for a trade.

How are people on the outside viewing the prospect of Watson coming to Pittsburgh? Well, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated has the Steelers rated fourth among most likely destinations for Watson if he is traded. He thinks the New York Jets are the most likely landing spot. Followed by the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins.

Other outlets are less optimistic about Pittsburgh’s chances. The Athletic’s Mike Sando did not have Pittsburgh in the top five of potential teams that may go after the reigning NFL passing yards leader. But he agreed with Orr’s assessment of the Jets being the top contender, and he also had Miami and San Francisco in the mix.

As for the oddsmakers, they aren’t too keen on the Steelers’ chances of pulling off that trade. BetOnline.Ag is putting the odds at 20/1 for Pittsburgh as Watson’s likely new home — if he’s traded at all. Seventeen teams are in front of the Steelers.

In case you are curious — as I was — the Patriots are 9/1. I see value for money there.

Help. But not much

As we all know, the Steelers are facing a salary cap problem.

In fact, every team is going to feel a pinch. According to ProFootballTalk, thanks in large part to covid-19, the league is expecting the 2021 cap number to come in around $180 million per franchise (compared to $198.2 million in 2020). Teams such as the Steelers were going to be in trouble even if the cap went up a little bit because they have a big free agent class. So that’s bad news.

But it could be worse. The league and the NFLPA have already stated that the salary cap could drop as low as $175 million. That would be a $23.2 million drop per club.

As PFT reports, “Plenty of owners … don’t want to delay the full brunt of the impact of the 2020 losses. They view it as an interest-free loan to players. And that mentality would push the final number closer to $175 million.”

Good for Joe

Former Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove was never an equal return for Gerrit Cole. Nor was anyone else the Pirates acquired from Houston in that deal.

But Musgrove was always a good guy while he was in Pittsburgh. He always played hard and had a positive attitude despite lots of losses for the franchise during his three years here.

So it’s nice to see him so happy about the trade that sent him back to his hometown San Diego Padres.

It’s especially nice because his father — who has some extensive health problems — will now have an easier time watching him pitch.

There was a homecoming in the other direction as part of the trade, too. San Diego is sending right-handed pitcher David Bednar back to the Pittsburgh area. He’s from Mars, Pa.

They also received outfielder Hudson Head and pitchers Omar Cruz and Drake Fellows from the Padres. Switch-hitting catcher Endy Rodriguez came from the Mets as part of the three-way swap.

‘All good things…’

The 17th-ranked Robert Morris hockey team earned a point Tuesday night in Erie. But their win streak ended at six.

The Colonials lost 3-2 in overtime to Mercyhurst. The Lakers got a game winner from Gueorgui Feduolov with the 34 seconds left in the extra session.

Nick Lalonde and Cameron Hebert scored in defeat for the Colonials. Derek Schooley’s club next plays RIT in Rochester Saturday night. Then they battle Mercyhurst again in a home-and-home series next Friday (Jan. 29) on the road and Saturday (Jan. 30) at the Island Sports Center.

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.

Categories: Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz

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