Nick Kwiatkoski

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Falcons Place LB Deion Jones, CB Isaiah Oliver On IR

The Falcons removed Deion Jones from their active/PUP list last week, but the veteran linebacker will still miss the season’s first four games. Atlanta placed Jones on IR Thursday.

This turned out to be part of a bigger Atlanta IR shift. In addition to the Jones placement, the Falcons moved cornerback Isaiah Oliver, defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield and tight end John FitzPatrick to IR. All are now ineligible through Week 4.

[RELATED: Falcons Claim T Chuma Edoga]

With one of the free roster spots, the Falcons brought back linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The team had included the former Bears and Raiders defender among its Tuesday cuts. Atlanta also re-signed defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and offensive lineman Colby Gossett.

Linked in trade rumors for months, Jones underwent shoulder surgery in May to quiet those. He did not return to practice until late August. The seventh-year defender is set to count for a Falcons-most $20MM against the 2022 cap. The team added Kwiatkoski, former Dean Pees Titans charge Rashaan Evans and second-rounder Troy Andersen at the position — one also housing third-year cog Mykal Walker — this offseason. That and the Falcons having moved on from most of their Super Bowl LI nucleus, as they attempt to rebuild, has naturally inserted Jones’ name into departure rumors.

It should not be completely ruled out Jones could be dealt by the Nov. 1 deadline, but Thursday’s transaction — continuing an injury hiatus into the season — further complicates that status.

Oliver went down with a season-ending knee injury in October of last year. Despite that, the former second-round pick re-signed with the Falcons on a one-year, $2.39MM deal. A 33-game Falcons starter, Oliver will have missed at least a year of football by the time he is able to return. Davidson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month. Mayfield lost his right guard job to journeyman Elijah Wilkinson during camp.

Falcons Reduce Roster To 53

With the deadline for teams to cut their rosters down to 53 players minutes away, the Falcons are the latest team to announce how they got there. Here are the moves Atlanta made to set its roster:




A few of Atlanta’s offseason additions are no longer with the team. Former Arthur Smith Titans charges Firkser and Pruitt — each of whom being with Tennessee during the current Atlanta HC’s run as Titans tight ends coach — leave a young tight end group. It would not surprise if one of the two — if not both — were back, via a belated active-roster return or practice squad stash. The Falcons currently have Kyle Pitts, 2021 UDFA Parker Hesse and sixth-round rookie John FitzPatrick at tight end.

The team also signed Kwiatkoski this offseason, bringing him in along with a few ILB investments. But the former Bears and Raiders starter/depth piece is back in free agency. The Falcons still have Deion Jones rostered, despite trade rumors, and have former first-round Titans pick Rashaan Evans in place as well. The team also drafted Troy Andersen in Round 2 this year.

Falcons To Sign LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Nick Kwiatkoski met with the Falcons last week and huddled up with the Raiders’ new staff this week. The former Bears and Raiders linebacker is going with his first visit.

The Falcons are signing Kwiatkoski to a one-year deal, Tom Pelissero of tweets. This will reunite Kwiatkoski with former Bears GM Ryan Pace, who joined the Falcons’ front office this offseason. The then-Pace-run Bears used a fourth-round pick on Kwiatkoski in 2016.

Given a three-year, $21MM deal in 2020, Kwiatkoski worked as a Raiders starter that year but operated as a depth piece last season. The Raiders added multiple new pieces on their defensive second level, one that already included fellow 2020 signing Cory Littleton, and Kwiatkoski did not start any games in 2021. With the Raiders transitioning from their Jon GrudenMike Mayock power structure, it led Kwiatkoski back to free agency. Las Vegas’ new regime cut Kwiatkoski and Littleton this offseason, though it showed interest in reuniting with the former. Littleton signed with the Panthers.

Atlanta has addressed its off-ball linebacker spots extensively this offseason, signing ex-Titans starter Rashaan Evans and using a second-round pick on Troy Anderson. Although the team is in the early stages of a rebuild, it still rosters highly paid inside ‘backer Deion Jones. Kwiatkoski, 29 this month, stands to represent depth, at worst, for the Falcons. He made 81 tackles in 2020 and has started 34 career games.

Raiders Host Nick Kwiatkoski

Nick Kwiatkoski was thought to be on his way out of Las Vegas, but a re-signing could still be a possibility. The Raiders hosted the veteran linebacker yesterday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

The 29-year-old was released by the Raiders at the beginning of free agency. That brought an end to his two-year tenure with the team – at least, under the contract he signed in 2020, which was restructured twice. As a result of cutting Kwiatkoski, the Raiders created $5MM in dead money.

The team is apparently willing to bring him back at a reduced rate, given this news. In his first year in Vegas, the former fourth rounder took on the largest workload of his career, starting all 12 games he played in. He registered a career-high 81 tackles, adding an interception and four pass breakups. An ankle injury limited him to just eight games in 2021, though.

Kwiatkoski’s first free agent visit was with the Falcons last week. The team’s front office would have some familiarity with him, as recent hire Ryan Pace was the general manager in Chicago when the Bears drafted Kwiatkoski in 2016. However, it was reported at the time that the meeting with Atlanta was the first of multiple sit-downs; on that point, Pelissero adds that Kwiatkoski “has at least one more visit scheduled”. By the end of that third meeting, it may become clearer where he will ultimately land.

Falcons Host Nick Kwiatkoski

Veteran linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski may be close to finding his next NFL home. He met with the Falcons today, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). 

Kwiatkoski, who will be 29 by the start of the season, began his career with the Bears in 2016. He was drafted by then-general manager Ryan Pace, who has since been hired by the Falcons, in the fourth round that year. In four years in the Windy City, he totalled 184 tackles and six sacks while registering 22 starts.

That led him to the Raiders, who signed him to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2020. Kwiatkoski’s first year with the team was a productive one; he made a career-high 81 tackles, adding an interception and four pass breakups. He also started all 12 games he played in, logging a much higher snap percentage than he had in any previous year. However, he was limited to eight games in 2021 campaign due to an ankle injury.

The West Virginia product had his contract restructured twice by the Raiders, but it wasn’t enough to avoid his inclusion in the team’s numerous front seven changes this offseason. He was cut at the onset of free agency, leaving a dead cap charge of $5MM. That left him on the open market again, pointing him, eventually, to the Falcons. In Atlanta, he could help fill the void left by the departure of 2021 NFL tackle leader Foyesade Oluokun.

As Pelissero notes, however, Kwiatkoski does have two other visits scheduled. Whether with the Falcons or one of those clubs, he adds, Kwiatkoski “should sign somewhere soon”.

Inside Linebacker Market

There are many inside linebackers waiting patiently on the open market. A wild first week of free agency has come and gone with other positions seeing record deals and big names moving. The market for inside linebackers, however, has been quiet and less than lucrative.

In years past, we’ve seen monster deals to players like C.J. Mosley, whose contract has an average annual value of $17MM and guaranteed him $43MM at signing, and Darius Leonard, whose contract has an average annual value of $19.7MM and guaranteed him $33MM at signing. The largest payout we’ve seen this offseason to an inside linebacker was when the Packers kept De’Vondre Campbell from entering free agency with a five-year, $50MM deal, with a guaranteed $15MM. It’s certainly an impressive deal, and one the esteemed linebacker deserves, but no other deals have come close.

After being cut by the Jaguars, Myles Jack signed a two-year, $16MM deal to become a Steeler. Josey Jewell remained with the Broncos after signing a two-year, $11MM deal. Minnesota’s new inside linebacker, Jordan Hicks, joined the Vikings on a two-year, $10MM contract. Christian Kirksey signed a similar deal to remain with the Texans. We’ve seen a few other small deals like Zaire Franklin signing a three-year, $10MM deal to remain in Indianapolis and Alex Anzalone signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract to play another year with the Lions.

While that may sound pretty active, there are many big names who have yet to find deals. The biggest of these names is Bobby Wagner. Cut after ten outstanding years in Seattle, Wagner was expected to be a highly sought after free agent. While there have been many teams who’ve voiced interest in the eight-time All-Pro, there has been no word of negotiations. Any deal Wagner signs will likely top the numbers posed by Campbell and the Packers, but the fact that he has yet to find a home may hint at the fact that the money he’s looking for isn’t being offered.

There are many other impact names on the open market: Kwon Alexander, Jayon Brown, Jarrad Davis, Dont’a Hightower, Anthony Hitchens, Nick Kwiatkoski, Reggie Ragland, Joe Schobert, and Danny Trevathan.

Due to the low spending we’ve seen thus far and the plethora of names available, these players will likely have to search for the right fit and accept a decent deal if offered. They may end up having to wait until injuries provide an opportunity for them to fill in on a roster. The exception, of course, is Wagner, who can afford to be patient. Wagner will have the luxury of being able to wait and see how rosters form throughout the league, biding his time until he’s sure he’s joining a contender. Look for the others to give up on looking for a lucrative payday and settle for decent deals from teams with schemes they like.

Raiders Cut LB Nick Kwiatkoski

The Raiders have released another defender. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (on Twitter), the team has cut LB Nick Kwiatkoski.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Bears, Kwiatkoski joined the Raiders in 2020 on a three-year, $21MM deal. The linebacker will ultimately leave behind a $5MM cap hit.

Kwiatkoski was productive during his first season with the team, collecting a career-high 81 tackles in 12 games. However, he was limited to only eight games in 2021 thanks in part to an ankle injury, and he collected only 21 tackles and one forced fumble when he did see the field.

As Tafur points out, the new Raiders front office was quick to move on from Cory Littleton, Carl Nassib, and Kwiatkoski, and the trio will ultimately account for $25.6MM in dead cap over the next two years.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/21

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Designated for return: G D’Ante Smith, CB Trae Waynes

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Raiders Rework LB Nick Kwiatkoski’s Deal

The Raiders have made multiple moves to bolster their linebacking corps over the past two weeks, trading for Denzel Perryman and signing K.J. Wright. They have also done some contractual maneuvering to help create cap space for these additions.

In addition to freeing up $8MM in cap room by restructuring Yannick Ngakoue‘s recently agreed-upon deal, the Raiders moved past $10MM in new space by reworking Nick Kwiatkoski‘s contract. Las Vegas created $2.31MM in cap space with its latest base salary-to-bonus adjustment, Field Yates of tweets.

This marks the second adjustment to Kwiatkoski’s deal this year. The team made a previous tweak in March, doing so along with its second revision to Cory Littleton‘s contract. Together, the two 2020 linebacker acquisitions’ deals have been redone four times. Kwiatkoski signed a three-year, $21MM pact in March 2020 and started a career-high 12 games last season. The Raiders added void years to the deal in March, creating some cap room, and did a more traditional restructure this week.

While the terms of Wright’s agreement are not in yet, the Raiders’ latest adjustment to the Kwiatkoski contract helped their linebacking corps add an experienced piece. The team now has Wright (140 career starts), Perryman (51), Littleton (51) and Kwiatkoski (34) on its active roster. Nicholas Morrow (29 starts) is on IR to begin the season. But this quintet gives the Raiders, whose defensive struggles followed them to Nevada last year, one of the NFL’s most experienced off-ball linebacker groups.