Chris Boswell

Steelers Activate K Chris Boswell From IR

The Steelers once again have all three of their specialists available as their push for a playoff spot continues. Per a team announcement, kicker Chris Boswell has been activated from IR.

The 31-year-old last played in Week 7, and has been on IR for one month due to a groin injury. That move guaranteed that he would miss at least four weeks, but Pittsburgh designated him for return on Thursday. That opened his 21-day window to be activated, and signaled that he would be ready to suit up in Week 14 during Sunday’s divisional showdown with the Ravens.

Boswell had been available for every game last season, one in which he reached the 90% plateau in his field goal percentage for the fifth time in his career. In the offseason, that made it little surprise when he signed a four-year extension. The $5MM AAV of that pact (briefly) tied him with Baltimore’s Justin Tucker as the league’s highest-paid kicker. Overall, Boswell’s career FG percentage sits at 87.4%, though his 2022 performance has not yet reached that standard.

The one-time Pro Bowler has converted 12 of 16 field goals so far, a 75% success rate which would rank as the second-lowest in his career if it were to continue. On the other hand, Boswell has been perfect on extra points this year, and made five of his six attempts beyond 50 yards. Recent improvements on offense under rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett could lead to an increase in opportunities in the kicking game.

In a corresponding transaction, the Steelers released Matthew Wright, who had filled in for Boswell over the course of the past four games. During that span, he converted 12 of 14 field goal attempts, also going a perfect seven-for-seven on extra points. That helped the team win three of their past four games, but their No. 1 option at the position will now take over for the stretch run.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/22

Today’s minor transactions:

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Place K Chris Boswell On IR, Activate S Damontae Kazee

The Steelers are up a defender but down a key special teamer. The team announced that they’ve activated safety Damontae Kazee from IR and placed kicker Chris Boswell on injured reserve.

Kazee inked a one-year, $1.19MM deal with the Steelers back in May after having spent the 2021 season in Dallas. The 29-year-old suffered a broken arm and dislocated wrist towards the end of the preseason, landing him on IR after 53-man rosters were set. Kazee returned to practice in October.

Kazee has plenty of starting experience, starting 15 games for the Cowboys in 2021 and 34 games for the Falcons between 2017 and 2020. The veteran will serve as an experienced option behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds.

“At the end of the day we have to make plays, get turnovers, give our offense another opportunity to go score some points,” Kazee said (via the team’s website). “We just have to trust our keys. Trust everything the coaches are giving us. Execute the plays. At the end of the day, they can call out any play. We just have to execute it. That’s what we need to do more.

“We just have to work together. We’ve got to be brothers. You just have to do your job so your brother can do his. Everybody’s job is important. Make sure we do what we have to do, execute the plays and come out with a win.”

Boswell missed Week 8 with a groin injury, and despite getting an extra week of rest with the bye, he’ll now be sidelined for at least the next four games. The veteran kicker has connected on 12 of his 16 field goal attempts and all nine of his extra point tries this season. Nick Sciba filled in for Boswell in Week 8, but the Steelers recently signed Matthew Wright off the Chiefs practice squad to fill in for Boswell going forward.

Steelers To Sign K Matthew Wright Off Chiefs’ Practice Squad

It appears the Steelers will be without their primary kicker for a bit longer. With Chris Boswell battling a groin injury, the Steelers are signing Matthew Wright off the Chiefs’ practice squad, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

By signing Wright off Kansas City’s taxi squad, the Steelers must keep him on their 53-man roster for at least three weeks. That is a fairly good indicator of Boswell’s timeline. The eighth-year Pittsburgh kicker, who suffered the injury in Week 7 against the Dolphins and did not kick against the Eagles in Week 8, is believed to need a bit more time to recover, James Palmer of tweets.

The Chiefs have kept Wright on their P-squad since using him as one of Harrison Butker‘s fill-in options earlier this season. The Jaguars’ primary kicker in 2021, Wright kicked in two games for the Chiefs during Butker’s absence. Following Justin Reid and Matt Ammendola as Butker replacement options, Wright was 3-for-4 on field goals — including a then-Arrowhead Stadium-record 59-yarder against the Raiders — and 8 of 8 on extra points during his Chiefs cameo.

Wright, 26, was 21-for-24 on field goals with the Jaguars last season. Transitioning to a new regime this offseason, Jacksonville waived Wright in May. Boswell signed a second Steelers extension this year. He is under contract through 2026.

Butker has kicked in three games since returning in Week 7 but has struggled, by his standards, since returning. The sixth-year Chief, who began his Kansas City career after being signed off Carolina’s practice squad, is 5-for-8 on field goals this season. Butker missed an extra point and a 47-yard field goal against the Titans. The Chiefs would have needed to promote Wright to their active roster to keep him. They will pass, and Wright is set to have another opportunity elsewhere.

Steelers Sign Practice Squad K Nick Sciba; Chris Boswell Ruled Out

The Steelers included kicker Chris Boswell on their injury report yesterday as he deals with a groin injury, and it appears that injury will hold him out of tomorrow’s contest in Philadelphia, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Without Boswell, Pittsburgh did not have a healthy kicker on its roster, forcing the team to make some last second roster adjustments.

The emergency situation resulted in the signing of former Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba to the team’s practice squad. Sciba spent the offseason in Pittsburgh, after going undrafted, knowing that his performance evaluations would likely be most useful to other teams around the league in need of a kicker, as the Steelers had just rewarded Boswell with a shiny new contract. Still, Sciba composed himself well enough throughout camp to warrant a phone call from the team when they needed him most.

Sciba was extremely reliable through four years in college, missing only 9 of 89 attempted field goals and setting the NCAA record for career field goal percentage with 89.9%. He also set a college football record with 34 made field goals in a row. He never missed a single extra point, converting all 193 attempts. The question for Sciba comes from his leg strength. Through his first three years at Wake Forest, Sciba never hit a field goal over 46 yards, and over his whole career with the Demon Deacons, he never hit a field goal of 50 yards or longer. He did make a 52-yard kick in the Hula Bowl all-star game, but teams still had questions about his leg strength coming into the NFL.

Boswell is missing time for the first time since he sat out of three games in 2020. The last-second nature of the ruling seems to indicate that he shouldn’t be expected to be out long, but the Steelers will have Sciba to lean on either way.

Sciba will be one of the Steelers’ gameday elevations along with defensive lineman Carlos Davis, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. In order to make room for Sciba on the practice squad, the Steelers released practice squad wide receiver Josh Malone.

Steelers To Extend K Chris Boswell

Chris Boswell and the Steelers have come to terms on another agreement. The Steelers are giving their longtime kicker a four-year deal, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

The Steelers’ kicker since 2015, Boswell signed for four years and $20MM; the deal also comes with $12.5MM guaranteed. The $5MM-per-year average ties Boswell with Justin Tucker atop the kicker market.

The previous contract the Steelers had Boswell tied to ran through the 2022 season; it placed the former Pro Bowler ninth among kickers in average annual salary. Weeks after re-upping Minkah Fitzpatrick, the team took care of another key contract-year player. With Ben Roethlisberger and Stephon Tuitt retiring, Boswell, 31, is the Steelers’ second-longest-tenured player — behind only Cameron Heyward.

This is the second major extension the Steelers and Boswell have agreed upon. The first came, in Steelers fashion, four Augusts ago. Boswell was coming off his only Pro Bowl nod at that point, but the 2018 season — one in which he made just 65% of his field goals — was his worst as a pro. But he bounced back on that contract, making at least 90% of his FG tries in each of the past three seasons and being especially reliable from long range.

Boswell broke through on tries from beyond 50 yards in 2021. From 2018-20, Boswell had only made three field goals from beyond 50 yards. He had only attempted four. Last season, however, Mike Tomlin called for more Boswell long-range efforts; the veteran specialist delivered. The Rice alum made 8 of 9 tries from that distance range — including two in the fourth quarter of a Monday-night win over the Bears — helping him join Tucker atop the kicker salary hierarchy.

Steelers K Chris Boswell Restructures Contract

The Steelers are eyeing limited cap space this offseason, but one of their veterans is helping them out a bit. SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan reports (via Twitter) that kicker Chris Boswell has restructured his contract.

After bouncing between the Texans and Giants during his first year-plus in the NFL, Boswell has found a home in Pittsburgh. He’s appeared in 74 games during his five seasons with the Steelers, including a 2017 campaign where he earned a Pro Bowl nod.

The 29-year-old had one of his best seasons in 2019, connecting on 93.5-percent of his field goal attempts (29 of 31) and all 28 of his extra point tries.

Boswell signed a four-year deal worth close to $17MM prior to last season. He was set to have about a $3.6MM cap hit in 2020.

Steelers K Chris Boswell On Roster Bubble

Chris Boswell has spent the past four seasons with the Steelers, but his tenure in Pittsburgh could be coming to an end. In his 53-man roster predictions, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes that the veteran kicker isn’t a shoo-in to make the team.

The 2014 undrafted free agent out of Rice had stops with the Texans and Giants before joining the Steelers in 2015. Boswell quickly became a mainstay of the Steelers’ special teams unit, appearing in 58 regular season games over the past four years. The 28-year-old was more-than-solid during his first three years with Pittsburgh, including a 2017 campaign where he earned a Pro Bowl nod.

However, Boswell struggled mightily in 2018. The kicker connected on only 65-percent of his field goal attempts, and he also converted a subpar 89.6-percent of his extra point chances. The front office reworked Boswell’s contract back in May, delaying his $2MM bonus until after the club’s final preseason game (the kicker was originally set to collect the bonus in March). This buys the Steelers some extra time as they evaluate the position, while Boswell gets a chance at redemption.

If the Steelers do decide to move on from Boswell, the team could turn to Central Florida rookie Matthew Wright. However, Kaboly says it’s more likely that the team pursues whichever free agent is cut loose during the preseason.

While there are question marks surrounding the Steelers’ kicker, the rest of their special teams unit seems set. Kaboly writes that punter Jordan Berry and long snapper Kameron Canaday are “secure.”

Steelers Rework Chris Boswell’s Contract

The Steelers pushed kicker Chris Boswell to delay his $2MM bonus until after the club’s final preseason game, Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (on Twitter) hears. Originally, Boswell was slated to collect on that bonus in mid-March. 

Had Boswell not accepted the payout change, Dulac hears that he would have been released. By pushing up the bonus date, the Steelers will give themselves additional time before deciding whether to give the veteran a shot at redemption.

Last year, Boswell converted just 65% of his field goal attempts last season, a percentage that ranked him 30th among kickers. That’s a far cry from his previous work, including his 2017 Pro Bowl campaign in which he sank 92.1% of his kicks, nailed all four of his tries from t50 yards and further, and earned his first ever trip to the Pro Bowl.

The Steelers also have Central Florida rookie Matthew Wright on the roster and could conceivably look at other kicking options between now and September.

AFC Notes: Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Broncos

The Jets have “massive buyer’s remorse” after signing cornerback Trumaine Johnson a five-year, $72.5MM deal last offseason, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Johnson, who had been franchise-tagged by the Rams in both 2016 and 2017, is now the NFL’s second-highest paid corner behind only Josh Norman. While he may not have played like a No. 1 CB last season, Johnson’s numbers were much improved from 2017. After ranking as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 60 corner in 2017, Johnson finished 24th in PFF’s grades last year. Football Outsiders, meanwhile, ranked Johnson as a bottom-10 corner in success rate in 2017, but 30th in 2018. Gang Green can’t realistically exit the Johnson contract until after the 2019 campaign.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Steelers appear set to explore the trade market for wide receiver Antonio Brown, but the return for the superstar may not be as lucrative as Pittsburgh hopes. Tom Pelissero of (video link) surveyed multiple NFL executives and reached the conclusion that the Steelers are likely to receive something in the neighborhood of a third-round pick in exchange for Brown. While he’s still among the NFL’s best pass-catchers, Brown is heading into his age-31 season and will be due north of $15MM in 2019. Additionally, it’s fair to wonder if some rival clubs are skeptical of Brown given his recent off-field antics. Earlier today, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert made it clear that he won’t simply give Brown away.
  • Speaking of embattled Steelers, kicker Chris Boswell is likely to face competition in training camp following a down 2018 campaign, as Colbert indicated to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Boswell only converted 65% of his field goal attempts last season, a percentage that ranked him 30th among kickers. He’s due a $2MM roster bonus on March 15, and the Steelers are presumably willing to pay that total given that Colbert says Boswell will be at training camp.
  • Cornerback Jimmy Smith could be a potential cap casualty as the Ravens move forward this offseason, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Smith is scheduled to count for nearly $16MM on Baltimore’s salary cap in 2019 (the highest figure on the club and second-highest among NFL corners), is now 30 years old, and has missed 13 games over the past three season due to injuries and a suspension. The Ravens have plenty of cornerback depth to withstand the loss of Smith (Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young), but he’s still playing at a high level.
  • The Broncos have begun negotiations with offensive lineman Billy Turner, and he may be the sole member of Denver’s unrestricted free agent class that will reach an agreement before the start of the new league year, writes Mike Klis of 9News. A former third-round pick of the Dolphins, Turner signed for $2MM last offseason and should receive a salary bump this year. He played 76% of the Broncos’ offensive snaps a year ago, and could return either as a starter or a valuable reserve in 2019.