LAS VEGAS – When the Bears dealt with injuries at the linebacker position in 2019, he was the man that helped to fill in when needed.
Nick Kwiatkoski took over when Roquan Smith was a late scratch against the Vikings in September and helped the Bears to a victory. When Danny Trevathan was lost for the season with an elbow injury against the Lions in November, he was there again to fill in admirably.
In many ways, Kwiatkoski’s progress was one of the positives of an otherwise disappointing 2019 season. But after four seasons in Chicago, the linebacker’s moving west for the next chapter of his career.
On Monday on Twitter, Kwiatkoski posted a picture of the new stadium in Las Vegas to announce that he’s joining the Raiders starting in 2020.
Per the NFL Network, the deal is for three years and $21 million with the chance to earn up to $24 million with $13.5 million guaranteed.
Drafted by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Kwiatkoski saw steady time in his first two seasons under John Fox as a reserve linebacker. He made 93 tackles with three sacks and three forced fumbles but saw a decrease in playing time in 2018 when the Bears added Smith to the middle linebacker group.
But injuries forced Kwiatkoski into the starting lineup against the Vikings on September 29th and he shined in the role. He made ten tackles with a sack and forced fumble as the Bears beat Minnesota 16-6 in arguably their best win of the season.
Kwiatkoski only saw snaps in two games a linebacker between then and November 10th when Trevathans’s first half elbow injury forced him in again. Like in September, Kwiatkoski shined, making ten tackle again with a sack and an interception in a Bears’ victory.
The linebacker would register ten tackles twice more before the end of the season and had a memorable bull rush sack against the Packers in Week 15. Those moments helped the Bears at times in 2019, but it also led to a new opportunity for the linebacker elsewhere for 2020.