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Steelers Looking for Competition for Boswell, Harvin after Up-and-Down Seasons

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on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)
Chris Boswell kicks a PAT against the Panthers on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

The Pittsburgh Steelers worked out two punters and two kickers at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side this week.

Punters Joseph Charlton and Dom Maggio and kickers Chris Naggar and Gabe Brkic all came in to try out for Steelers scouts and coaches. None came away with a contract, but the Steelers will likely attempt to add real competition for both incumbent starters at those positions after inconsistent showings in 2022.

Kicker Chris Boswell posted the second-worst field goal percentage of his career, struggling before and after a groin injury that cost him five games. Boswell finished 33rd among qualified kickers in field goal percentage.

RELATED: Is Down Year for Chris Boswell Cause for Concern?

Both Nick Sciba and Matthew Wright, who replaced Boswell while he was injured, ended up with a better field goal percentage than Boswell. Wright ended up getting grabbed by the Kansas City Chiefs after being released by the Steelers. Sciba remains a free agent.

The Steelers brought him in as an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest last offseason, and it’s possible he could return. Naggar, 25, played one game for the Cleveland Browns in 2021 and has spent time with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. Brkic was an undrafted rookie with the Green Bay Packers this year, but was injured in training camp.

Pittsburgh usually brings in at least one kicker to compete for the job in training camp, but after a tough year for Boswell, that competition will likely have added importance. Boswell also has a big new contract to live up to. He signed a four-year, $20 million extension last summer. He is due a $1.3 million roster bonus and $2.74 million in salary in 2023.

Harvin, the Steelers’ seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has hit some big punts in his two-year NFL career, and excels in minimizing returns with hang time, but has not developed the kind of consistency most teams look for in a punter.

He finished 19th in the NFL in net punting average at 41.1, a three-yard improvement over his rookie season, and his 137 total return yards was the second-fewest among regular punters. But his gross average was just 44.5, or 28th in the league, because of too few short kicks off the side of his foot.

Unlike Boswell, Harvin is still an inexpensive option, playing on his rookie contract. But the Steelers appear to be serious about challenging him, as well. Joseph was the Carolina Panthers’ full-time punter in 2020, averaging 46.3 yards gross and 40.8 net. He suffered an injury in 2021 and was released. Charlton has also spent time with the Browns, Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Maggio, another Wake Forest alum, spent time with the Baltimore Ravens in 2020 and Atlanta Falcons in 2021. He was waived by Atlanta last June.

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