Steelers Predicted to Add Former Starting LB Before Training Camp

Mike Tomlin

Getty Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been predicted to sign a former starting inside linebacker before the start of training camp.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on June 16 that they released safety Scott Nelson.

With that move, the Steelers have 89 players on their roster at the conclusion of their offseason workouts. Sports Illustrated’s Noah Strackbein projected Pittsburgh to fill that last remaining roster spot with a former starting inside linebacker — either Jermaine Carter or Nick Kwiatkoski.

The Steelers invited both Carter and Kwiatkoski to their facility for workouts during the second week of June. But neither left the workout with a contract.

Strackbein, though, doesn’t see that remaining the case much longer.

“Pittsburgh has no reason not to sign another player before training camp,” Strackbein wrote. “The release of Nelson comes at a position that is likely filled, but inside linebacker is currently only holding five players, and the Steelers typically keep five on their roster.

“Competition is always a good thing, and the Steelers may want some competition in their inside linebacker room.”

Both Carter and Kwiatkoski have started at least 30 NFL games in their careers.

What Carter or Kwiatkoski Could Bring to the Steelers

If a little more experience is what the Steelers want in their inside linebacker room, either Carter or Kwiatkoski would be a solid addition to the Pittsburgh 90-man roster.

The Carolina Panthers selected Carter in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft. He made the team and dressed for all 16 games as a rookie.

In four seasons with the Panthers, he progressively started more games every season. He peaked with 17 starts during the final year of his rookie deal in 2021.

During that season, Carter recorded 88 combined tackles, including 3 tackles for loss and 3 quarterback hits.

Last season, he played seven games for the Cleveland Browns. He also spent time in the offseason with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Carter signed with the Houston Texans in May but only spent a little more than a week on the team’s roster.

Kwiatkoski, who is a Bethel Park native and played college football at West Virginia, was a fourth-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2016. He started at least six contests in three of his four seasons with the Bears, including seven games as a rookie.

In 2020, he started a career-high 12 contests for the Las Vegas Raiders. During 2020, he recorded 81 combined tackles, including 3 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits and 1 sack.

After two seasons with the Raiders, Kwiatkoski played 12 games for the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Steelers’ Current Situation at Inside Linebacker

To say the Steelers have revamped their inside linebacker room this offseason is an understatement. Robert Spillane and Devin Bush left in free agency while the Steelers released veteran Myles Jack.

In their place, general manager Omar Khan signed veterans Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts. The Steelers also signed Tanner Muse and Chapelle Russell to minor deals.

The other inside linebacker on Pittsburgh’s roster is second-year player Mark Robinson.

Muse, Russell and Robinson have combined to make four starts in their NFL careers. While Holcomb and Roberts are projected to start at inside linebacker for the Steelers in 2023, an injury to either veteran would push an inexperienced linebacker into the lineup.

Either Carter or Kwiatkoski would give the Steelers additional depth in the middle of their defense.

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