First Call: Steelers fans won’t like list of potential destinations for Roquan Smith; Jose Quintana solid again for St. Louis

Thursday’s “First Call” wonders if the Pittsburgh Steelers can land Chicago Bears star Roquan Smith in a trade. If they can’t, who will?

Also, a former Pirate is shining for his new team. A former Penguin is now a college coach. And a former Steeler may not be able to suit up upon his return to Pittsburgh.

Roquan a Raven?

Disgruntled Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been removed from the physically unable to perform list. It’s unclear if that is a sign of progress in negotiations on a new contract or a step toward greasing the wheels for a trade out of town.

As FanNation’s BearDigest at SI.com points out, taking Smith off PUP could be an indication that “his ‘hold-in’ is no longer being sanctioned by the team. It could mean Smith might be going to a hold-out status or that the Bears are planning to fine him for missed practices. He is under contract but seeking a contract extension beyond 2022. The Bears don’t have to fine him, but if he isn’t at practice and is healthy, then they’re setting a bad precedent for future possible hold-outs if they don’t fine him. In his case, it could be about $40,000 a day.”

Steelers fans and blogs are, of course, salivating at the notion of a trade. Why not? As a player who has been a second-team All-Pro each of the past two years, he’d be a massive upgrade over Devin Bush or Robert Spillane next to Myles Jack in the Steelers 3-4 defense.

Smith is on the last year of his rookie contract. He has requested a trade. Any team giving up assets to acquire him better be prepared to pay big money. Speculation is that he may ask for upward of $100 million. The Steelers only have $9.6 million of cap space as of now, according to OverTheCap.com. And they’d have to piece together a whopper of a trade package.

But if they don’t, who might? CBSSports.com lists the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens as the top potential landing spot.

“Thirty-year-old Josh Bynes is currently in line to be the team’s starting middle linebacker after starting 12 games for them last year and re-signing with the club this offseason. Smith not only would be an instant upgrade, but he’d be an answer for them for the foreseeable future. As an aside, Smith could also pick up the mantle left by Ray Lewis and be Baltimore’s next great middle linebacker,” writes CBS’ Tyler Sullivan.

That said, Baltimore has even less cap room ($8.2 million) than the Steelers do. CBS Sports also lists the New England Patriots as third on the list and the Dallas Cowboys as fifth.

The thought of Smith playing next to Penn State product Micah Parsons is absolutely frightening. The Cowboys have roughly $21 million in cap space, third most in the NFL.

Won’t burn Burns

Former Steelers cornerback Artie Burns was slated to come back to Pittsburgh on Saturday. He now plays with the Seattle Seahawks. They are the opponent for the Steelers in the first preseason game of the year at Acrisure Stadium.

Burns had been getting starter’s reps in Seattle. But he suffered an injured groin Tuesday and is now a question mark for Saturday’s game.

Burns is one of three banged up Seattle corners. Sidney Jones IV (concussion) and John Reid (groin) are also injured. The Hawks signed Baylor product Jameson Houston to build up the depth chart.

Since signing with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Houston has been with the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars and Michigan Panthers (USFL).

Burns had been getting good reviews from the Seattle coaching staff in training camp.

More in Sports

• Steelers’ tight end corps as close-knit as it is brimming with potential
• Steelers inside the ropes: Mitch Trubisky struggles; Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett look sharp
• Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson sued for no-show at youth football camp

Two for two

The St. Louis Cardinals posted a 9-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies Wednesday. Jose Quintana got credit for the win.

The Cardinals acquired the former Pirates pitcher in a trade Aug. 1. In his first start, the lefty helped the Cards beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 by twirling six innings of one-run pitching. He yielded just one hit along the way, a solo home run.

On Wednesday, his second start wasn’t quite as clean. But Quintana was effective enough, giving up two earned runs in six innings against the Rockies. He gave up seven hits and two walks en route to the victory. Albert Pujols lended support with his ninth home run of the year.

St. Louis has a one game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers atop the National League Central.

Bench boss

Former Penguin Shawn McEachern is now a head coach on the college level.

The 1992 Stanley Cup Champion has been hired by Suffolk University to be the first full-time head coach of the D-III Rams hockey program.

McEachern is no stranger to college hockey success, having led Boston University to back-to-back Frozen Fours, with a championship game appearance in 1991. As a Terrier, McEachern was a first-team All-American in 1991 and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

During parts of four seasons as a Penguin, McEachern scored 53 goals and had 112 points.

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.

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