The veteran linebacker will head back to Pennsylvania after spending the 2022 season in Atlanta. Kwiatkoski joins Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts as veteran linebackers added to the Steelers’ equation this offseason. It is a one-year deal, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).
This marks the third Kwiatkoski contract agreement in four years, though the West Virginia alum also agreed to multiple Raiders restructures. The Raiders signed the former Bears part-time starter to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2020, but after the team cut bait in 2022, worse terms awaited from the Falcons. But Atlanta still afforded an opportunity — on a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum. Considering this is a June addition after a minicamp tryout, Kwiatkoski’s Steelers terms are likely similar to what he received from the Falcons.
Drafted in the 2016 fourth round by the Bears a month after their Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman signings, Kwiatkoski ended up moving into Chicago’s starting lineup frequently over his first two seasons. He started 13 games from 2016-17, and even after the Bears made Roquan Smith a top-10 pick in 2018, they still needed Kwiatkoski for eight starts during his 2019 contract year. He parlayed that into the Raiders accord, with the Silver and Black signing he and Cory Littleton in March 2020. Neither deal worked out, and both off-ball ‘backers were gone as the Dave Ziegler–Josh McDaniels regime took over last year.
Kwiatkoski, 30, played 12 Falcons games last season, working mostly as a special-teamer. He logged 228 special teams snaps, marking his third season with at least 200 ST plays. While Kwiatkoski has started 34 career games, he profiles as a depth piece in Pittsburgh. The Bethel Park High alum joins offseason addition Tanner Muse and 2022 seventh-round pick Mark Robinson as the Steelers’ top non-Holcomb and Roberts options. Depth could be key here, with Holcomb coming off a December foot surgery.
Additionally, the Steelers released wide receiver Anthony Miller. A former Kwiatkoski Bears teammate whom the team chose in the 2018 second round, Miller has been unable to find his NFL footing since a promising 2019 season (656 receiving yards). The Bears traded Miller to the Texans in July 2021, but Houston waived him soon after. The Jaguars and Steelers took subsequent fliers later that year, and Miller ended up sticking with Pittsburgh for a bit. But he only played in one game with the Steelers. The ex-Chicago slot suffered a shoulder injury while competing for a Steelers job in training camp last year and spent the season on IR.