Steelers Try Out Former $21 Million Linebacker: Report

Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski of the Las Vegas Raiders is introduced prior to a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 14, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are working out veteran linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, as part of the team’s ongoing effort to upgrade its off-the-ball linebacker corps.

At the same time, the Steelers are also trying out former Carolina Panthers inside linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., per Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now. Carter spent the first four years of his career with Carolina (2018-21) before working for the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans in 2022.

Nick Kwiatkoski Signed a $21 Million Contract in 2020

Kwiatkoski, 30, is a former 4th-round pick of the Bears (2016) who spent the first four years of his career in Chicago, playing well enough to earn a three-year, $21 million contract with the Raiders in 2020. He earned $14.5 million over the course of two seasons in Las Vegas before getting released, but soon caught on with the Falcons, appearing in 12 games for Atlanta in 2022.

Thus far, he has played in 89 games and been credited with 293 total tackles (208 solo), not to mention 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 8 forced fumbles and a dozen passes defensed.

The Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, native played his college ball at West Virginia, where he started his career as a defensive back before transitioning to linebacker.

If he signs with the Steelers, one would expect it to be for the veteran minimum. According to, he was paid a salary of $1.035 million, with a cap number of $895,000. He would be one of a handful of new additions at the position in the wake of free agent signees Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, not to mention former Raiders third-round pick Tanner Muse.

Jermaine Carter Is a Former 5th-Round Pick

As for Jermaine Carter Jr., he’s a former Maryland Terrapin who was selected No. 161 overall in 2018 by the Panthers. The Steelers showed significant interest in Carter ahead of the 2018 NFL draft, bringing him in for a pre-draft visit.

To date Carter has appeared in 72 regular-season games and been credited with 194 total tackles (96 solo), along with 2 fumble recoveries and a half-a-sack. Almost all of that production came with the Panthers, though he recorded 8 tackles for the Browns in seven games last year.

3 Steelers Absent for 1st Day of Minicamp, Including T.J. Watt

On Tuesday the Steelers opened a mandatory three-day minicamp with an afternoon practice.

“Everyone was here that I anticipated being here,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his media session on Tuesday. “I gave a couple of guys an excused absence for a variety of reasons. T.J. (Watt) wasn’t here. Ryan McCollum wasn’t here. I’m sure you guys missed T.J. I’m sure none of you missed Ryan McCollum,” quipped Tomlin about the former Detroit Lions center, who played on the same line as Steelers tackle Dan Moore Jr. when both were in college at Texas A&M.

Tomlin went on to confirm that punter Pressley Harvin III also was excused on Tuesday. That left the punting duties to Braden Mann, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Jets in mid-April.

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