First Call: Steelers assistant says Chris Boswell ‘will get a new deal at some point,’ Baker Mayfield update in Cleveland

At least one Pittsburgh Steelers coach thinks an important player is getting a new contract. There’s an update on Baker Mayfield’s situation in Cleveland. Chris Archer finally won a game. And things just don’t get any easier for the Pirates.

All that in Thursday’s “First Call.”

Optimistic opinion

Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has been fantastic the past three years, making 84 of 91 field goals over that time (92.3%).

But he is entering the last year of his contract. That said, special teams coordinator Danny Smith isn’t worried about Boswell leaving at the end of 2022.

“He is excellent. We are happy with him. He’ll get a new deal at some point. He is doing very well,” Smith said Wednesday.

In terms of raw cash paid out this year, Spotrac says Boswell is slated to make $3.26 million, 15th among kickers this year. But his $4.94 million cap hit is fifth on the team according to

Missing Mayfield

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will be excused from the team’s mandatory minicamp next week.

It’s a mutual decision between him and the team, according to Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski.

Road“All players are subject to more than $90,000 in team fines if they are not present during all three days of mandatory minicamp, but Mayfield’s excused absence means Cleveland will not penalize the quarterback.”

Mayfield is in limbo with Cleveland. He requested a trade during the Browns’ pursuit of Deshaun Watson — who eventually signed a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

But the franchise has yet to move on from Mayfield, the NFL’s 2018 first overall pick. Meanwhile, Watson currently is facing 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions and is under investigation by the league. There’s no word as to when — or if — he may be suspended by the NFL.

Jacoby Brissett may be in line to be the franchise’s top quarterback if that happens, and Mayfield continues to stay away.


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Much needed

Chris Archer got a win for the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. It was just his second win since leaving the Pirates.

His last start in Pittsburgh was Aug. His last win here was on June 6, 2019.

The right-hander didn’t pitch in 2020 because of thoracic outlet syndrome. Then he appeared in just six games last season, winning once. In his previous 10 starts this year, Archer was 0-2.

But that changed Wednesday as the Twins thumped New York, 8-1. Archer only allowed one earned run in five innings on the mound.

Archer has yielded just two runs over 10 frames in his last two starts, dropping his ERA from 4.19 to 3.65 in 11 starts this season.

The defeat ended what had been a seven-game Yankees win streak.

Too hot to stop?

After losing two in a row at home to a lousy Tigers team, the Pirates now have to go on the road and play four games against the hottest team in Major League Baseball.

It’s the Atlanta Braves. They have won seven in a row, including a 13-2 mashing of the Oakland A’s on Wednesday. Adam Duvall had one of four homers for the Braves.

During their win streak, the Braves have outscored opponents 52-20. They have improved to 30-27 on the year, good for second place in the National League East.

Granted, this win streak has been built against the likes of the A’s, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. All those teams are below .500. But so are the Pirates.

That series starts Thursday with JT Brubaker pitching against Atlanta’s Max Fried. The Braves’ 76 home runs are tops in the National League. They have the eighth-most runs scored in Major League Baseball at 259, the seventh-most hits at 472 and the fifth-best OPS at .757.

Their pitching staff has 523 strikeouts, third most in baseball. So the Pirates should be fine.

Just fine.

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

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