Chicago Bears finding a market for Nick Kwiatkoski

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback DeShone Kizer #7 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football against Nick Kwiatkoski #44 of the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Soldier Field on December 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback DeShone Kizer #7 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football against Nick Kwiatkoski #44 of the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Soldier Field on December 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Rumors are swirling that Chicago Bears free agent Nick Kwiatkoski may get a lot of money on the market. What could he expect in free agency?

Nick Kwiatkoski has been a stud special teams player for years. Last year, when Danny Trevathan went down with an injury, he excelled. It has led to a lot of evaluators to become interested in his talents on the free-agent market.

He is a young, smart and talented player with a real chance to cash in here. There is no chance he is not going to take it. With that in mind, what type of money could he be looking at? The rumors are that multiple teams are interested. What could he expect in free agency?  Is he going to max himself out of the Bears price range?

The first thing to note is that he is going to hit the market at the same time as Blake Martinez, Joe Schobert, and Cory Littleton. Littleton may stay, but all indications are that the other two are going to hit the market.

We also are lucky that last year, Jordan Hicks set a decent market for free agent linebackers at the same age as Nick Kwiatkoski hitting free agency. Teams are going to compare his contract and production to Hicks. There also was a Jaylon Smith extension that happened during the season.

Hicks signed a 4-year, $34 million deal, an average of $8.5 million per year. Smith signed a 6-year, $68 million extension, an average of $11.3 million per year. Smith got $19 million guaranteed, Hicks got $20.

How do these free agents stack up to those deals?


In coverage, we looked at the last two seasons for Nick Kwiatkoski, because his sample size is still small, and he had his worst football in 2018. Still, comparing his metics to these peers, Kwiatkoski still looked fine in coverage.

Hicks allowed 11.4 yards per reception, Schubert, 10.6 Littleton 9.9, Martinez, 9.2, Smith 8.7, and Kwiatkoski bringing up the end with 7.7 yards per reception.

His yards per target at 4.7 is the lowest of the group as well with them ranging from 6.8 to 8.6 yards per target allowed. He also allowed a 69 passer rating which bests Schobert, who allowed an 81, which led the rest of the group.

Yards after the catch

Kwiatkoski is good in coverage because he is smart and physical. He is in the right spot and can make plays to knock the ball away. With that in mind, he did struggle a bit in allowing yards after the catch.

Kwiatkoski averaged 5.7 yards allowed after the catch per reception. which is tied with Blake Martinez. Only Jordan Hicks allowed more, with 6.4 yards after the catch per reception. Joe Schobert only averaged 4.1 yards after the catch, with Jaylon Smith at 4.6, and Littleton at 5.3.

Still, overall teams are going to credit Schobert for the much bigger sample size but will look at Kwiatkoski as the next best bet in coverage of this group.

Run Defense

Run stops are defined as an unsuccessful run. When looking at run stops per snap played, Nick Kwiatkoski was still more productive against the run than any of his peers.

He averaged 0.14 run stuffs per snap. Jaylon Smith and Martinez averaged 0.13, Schobert averaged 0.12, Littleton 0.11, and Hicks at 0.10.

Jaylon Smith was better than him at run stop rate, though with an 8.4 clip. Still, Kwiatkoski was at 7.4 just behind Schobert at 8.2 and Martinez at 8.1 Littleton was at 5.8.

However, Littleton did not miss a single tackle in 2019. Jaylon Smith had the next best-missed tackle rate, followed by Martinez. However, Kwiatkoski is not far behind and hd a better-missed tackle rate than Hicks and Schobert.

Overall, it is clear that Jaylon Smith is an elite run-stuffer who struggles against the pass. We saw what he made. Also, Kwiatkoski is going to look at Hick’s salary as a floor.

Pass Rush

Jordan Hicks shows some value with 16 pressures. However, Kwiatkoski and Littleton had 11, Schobert had 10, Smith 9, and Martinez, 6.

When looking at the snaps played and number of pass rush chances, Kwiatkoski paces the group with a 17.6 rating. Martinez and Schobert were more efficient on their pass rush chances than Hicks as well, while Littleton struggled.


Overall, it is unlikely the Chicago Bears are going to trust Nick Kwiatkoski. They like him and respect what he brought, but they never viewed him as a starter.

However, due to his brief stint in 2019, teams are going to look at these stats, look at his age, and look at his special team’s production and see a starter ready to step in.

As mentioned, over the past two years, Kwiatkoski has been more efficient on a snap-per-snap basis than Jordan Hicks.

He saw what Smith got and knows that the Smith took a team-friendly deal before the salary cap is set to go up.

Nick Kwiatkoski is not going to get the money that Smith got, but $10 million as an average annual salary is much more realistic than anybody could have possibly thought that this point last year.

Next. Mock Draft 1.0. dark

Some teams may look at Littleton and Martinez and think that Kwiatkoski at a slightly cheaper price is the better option.

Expect a 4-year, $40 million with $20 million guaranteed to be on the table for Kwiatkoski. Do not expect the Bears to be the team offering that.