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Christian Kuntz’s Job As Steelers’ Long Snapper Appears To Be In Jeopardy


For the last two seasons, Christian Kuntz has held down the long snapper role for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Could that be coming to an end for the hometown kid, at least based on some developments this offseason?

It sure seems like the Steelers and GM Omar Khan are exhausting all options when it comes to the long snapper position on special teams coordinator Danny Smith’s unit ahead of the 2023 season.

After signing Kuntz to a one-year contract in February, the Steelers brought in veteran Nick Boyle as a rookie minicamp tryout as the former Baltimore Ravens tight end made the switch to long snapper. Most, they recently invited XFL standout long snapper Antonio Ortiz to try out for the team, aiming to bring in competition for Kuntz ahead of the 2023 season.

Typically, the Steelers like to add competition at spots throughout the roster. While GM Omar Khan hasn’t signed Boyle or Ortiz — yet — this offseason feels a bit different when it comes to Kuntz and the long snapper position compared to other seasons, which could put Kuntz’s job in jeopardy.

Kuntz signed a one-year deal in February after he was scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent, meaning the team retained control over him this offseason. Kuntz’s deal is expected to be worth $940,000.

Kuntz has served as the Steelers’ long snapper for the past two seasons, beating out Kameron Canaday in 2021 for the starting job. Prior to earning the starting long snapper job for Pittsburgh, Kuntz was undrafted out of Duquesne and bounced around among the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars and the XFL’s Dallas Renegades before beating out Canaday.

Kuntz has been serviceable, playing a key role in the battery of Pressley Harvin III and Chris Boswell in 2021 that saw Boswell have a career season. But that same battery struggled in 2022 as Boswell had his lowest made-field goal percentage since his disastrous 2018 season.

Kuntz started all 17 games last season but had his struggles on field goals, forcing Harvin to have to reach up for a couple of snaps.  He logged 171 special teams snaps last year and his PFF grade was just 37.0, which is clearly a very poor number. Additionally, Kuntz recorded just one tackle last season, down from the two he recorded in 2021.

Still, none of his snaps were truly disastrous and led directly to missed kicks. That said, some of the snapping issues were noticeable last season, causing Harvin to have to show off his hands to snag high snaps ensuring the kicking game was on time.

He was also penalized once last season, flagged for a hold in the season-opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. That holding penalty came on a 60-yard punt for a touchback from Harvin, which put the Bengals on the 30-yard line. And that came with six minutes to go in regulation in a one-score game.

Kuntz certainly is not viewed as being among the better long snappers in the NFL with some of the top ones like Morgan Cox in Tennessee, Josh Harris in Atlanta, Patrick Scales in Chicago and Zak DeOssie in New York with the Giants. He isn’t a bad one, either, but that puts him largely in no-man’s land.

He’s not on the same level as previous Steelers long snappers like Greg Warren and Mike Schneck, but he’s at least serviceable.

However, it’s worth monitoring the clear interest the Steelers have had in the position this offseason, as well as late last season after they worked out Hunter Bradley, Brian Khoury, Thomas Fletcher and Steven Wirtel in early December.

Kuntz is under contract and is the starter currently, but his job might be in jeopardy moving forward.

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