Steelers Sign RB Knile Davis


The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed their second free agent, officially coming to terms with RB Knile Davis. The team announced the move moments ago. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but it is a one-year deal.


Ideally, Davis will be the #3 running back and should be the team’s starting kick returner. The latter is where this signing will have the greatest impact. In his career, Davis has averaged 26.8 yards per kick and two touchdowns and has an additional score in the playoffs, returning the opening kickoff against the Houston Texans in 2015.

Davis was on Depot’s original free agent wishlist. Here’s what we said at the time.

“He fell way behind in the pecking order up in Kansas City this year, becoming the third string back but had a big role in the offense in 2014. It wasn’t notably successful, he averaged 3.5 yards per carry, but he’s got size, speed, and a kick return background. He’s proud owner of two kick return touchdowns and an average over 28 yards in 2014.”

The Steelers are still likely to be interested in adding a running back in the draft to become the #2 behind Le’Veon Bell.

Look for a full scouting report on Davis later tonight or bright and early in the morning.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Xi37

    I just threw-up in my mouth. This guy was washed up 3 years ago…

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    *Face palm

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Hope this doesn’t keep them from drafting a decent rb

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Let’s see if he even makes the team

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I say have him lose 15-20 lbs. and see if this helps his game! I also say that this should be Toussant’s competition and should not change the draft strategy at all. of course, I hope he becomes great – I just doubt it is all.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Toussant is slow at returning kicks

  • Rob

    People said the same thing about D Will..not saying it’s the same, but I don’t think it’s a bad signing at all. Especially bc of the kr value.

    Colbert will always make signings like this to give them flexibility on draft day. It’s a smart strategy.

  • Chris92021

    I like this signing. I doubt it was much more than the veteran minimum. If he can still return kicks, excellent. If Davis can’t beat out Fitzgerald Toussaint, he should retire ASAP.

  • Steelers12

    not really excited about this, would of rather kept D’Angelo

  • Steelers12

    true

  • xXWARisHELLXx

    I blame Danny Smith if this goes wrong

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    I think bcus we r in need of a KR

  • T3xassteelers

    Better than Touissant and can returns kicks!! Successful signing in my book if he’s the 3rd RB.

  • Joseph Shaw

    LOLOL…gotta use a photo of him fumbling, huh?

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I agree and K. Davis may be good competition for him. I just hope we are not relying on K. Davis to be the #2 back at the start of the season.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Haley worked with Davis in KC, so I’m not surprised. Wouldn’t be opposed to him being the #3 back. Has to be better than Touissant at kick returns.

  • Alex Kozora

    ha, to be honest, i didn’t even notice that.

  • Alex Kozora

    Haley was in Pittsburgh by then.

  • Joseph Shaw

    I thought it was meant to be an editorial comment. 🙂

  • Shane Mitchell

    Great signing, we can cross off back up for Fitz Toussaint among our many needs entering this draft, I was worried about that one.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    D-will was at least a proven commodity though. HIs only minuses was his health and age.

  • Xi37

    DWill was once very good… Can’t say the same for Davis.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    I think it was more his usage and health not age..dude still proved Carolina that he has it still

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    He will, but probably still won’t see any return action.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I agree it is a good signing if he is competing with Fitz for #3. Davis is by far a better returner, but I’m not so sure about him being a better RB. To me, Davis looks like a big back but doesn’t really run like one. I think it best if he sheds weight like Bell did when he got here. That may help his return speed too.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Freudian slip

  • Spencer Krick

    Someone who might be able to return kicks? It’s a miracle!

  • T R

    end of DeAngelo Williams huh?

  • steelburg

    I like the signing he needs to work on ball security but he is similar to Dwill with his skill set IMO.

  • T R

    yea thanks Alex. I was like is he fumbling LOL

  • RickM

    I like the potential Tyson Alualu signing, but this guy does nothing for me. His kickoff return average this past year was only 21 yards on 9 returns, and his per carry rushing average has been abysmal lately. K.C. even traded him this past season to Green Bay for a conditional 2018 7th-round draft pick, and the Packers quickly released him after 5 carries for 5 yards. Keep De’Angelo over this guy.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He should be so cheap that he barely changes the cap. That’s fine and there will be more signings like this.

  • Michael Dobson

    A 25 year old rb with sub 4.4 speed, almost 27 yards per return, and probs around vet min? That is a good signing. He’s an immediate upgrade at KR and #3 rb in terms of explosiveness

  • CP72

    I’ll take 20 of them….you only have to hit on one. They cost you practically nothing against the cap.

  • falconsaftey43

    Except where Dwill was really good and this guy stinks

  • Shane Mitchell

    I dont understand the signing, if we were looking for a kick returner and #3 RB that can also return punts, Dexter McCluster was available, same age as Davis.

  • RickM

    Agree. Williams was a superb back and he re-invented himself by losing 15 pounds. The highest rushing average this guy has ever had is 3.5 yards per carry.

  • Rob

    I don’t ant this to turn into a situation where I’m defending Kniles Davis’ performance, but for the sake of fairness..

    Davis was never considered a starter/ and didn’t evenly split time with Charles in KC.. he’s been a backup for most of his career, so there are obvious problems with the comparison off the bat.

    One thing that’s working against him is his YPC, which looking at his 11 career TD’s/goalline usage may be a reason considering he averages like 5 carries a game for his career. Has a high catch percentage and RecYds/G, still under 30, and will be working with a great RB coach, one of the best O-lines in the league. There’s enough positive’s to work with for him to be a reliable 2nd or 3rd option, w/o even considering his value as a KR/PR as well. From memory, I remember him being quite serviceable as a back up, especially that 2014 season.

  • H.K. northern cali

    Steelers will still draft a rb in this upcoming draft.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Isnt this the best retuner the steelers ever had in like many yrs? Danny Smith better not screw this one up

  • ScullNCrossbones

    I spit out my coffee when I saw he ran a 4.37 with 31 reps at the combine. Maybe he still has some of that left in him. only 25 years old.

  • SouthernSteel

    Lol….me too…a little vomit after reading this signing…

  • falconsaftey43

    Just ran the numbers quick, he has something like a 32% successful run percentage, which is terrible.

  • John Noh

    Oh look, it’s Najeh Davenport minus the breaking & entering closet pooping – yet.

  • Steelers12

    yeah but there were other options for that, you could just keep 6 WRs on roster and let Ayers handle that

  • VinHuddle

    With that size and speed, 3.5 ypc is disappointing

  • RickM

    And we’re going to have to read about how well he did at the combine years ago lol. After a certain number of NFL years, combine results should be deemed inadmissible and irrelevant.

  • TsarPepe

    When you give your star receiver $17 million per year, your probably don’t wanna have him back there returning kicks.

  • VinHuddle

    LOL

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    It be crazy if this dude took one to the house..I’m hearing alot of neg comments

  • John Noh

    AB didn’t return kickoffs. Touissant and Coates were the KRs primarily.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    I think he meant PR

  • Andrew

    He’s gonna get a vet min contract to compete (and probably over take) Fitz’s spot. Our #2 is coming in the draft

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    I like the signing gives us wiggle room to draft all defense

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Ha, I was about to rip you, good one.

  • RickM

    I can’t speak for everyone else, but I view Bell as a little questionable to play a whole season. Therefore the #3 back is more important, at least to me. I just don’t think he is a very good running back.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Maybe if he loses weight he will be a better player

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    He did get 6.7 avg yrds vs patriots back in 2014 rushed for over 100 yrds in that game

  • RickM

    I don’t know if he has that intention or not. If so, good for him. Hopefully they will address the position in the draft. If they do that will alleviate some of my concerns.

  • ThatGuy

    I will miss DWill.

  • Shane Mitchell

    I was hoping he might be good in pass protection, but unfortunately it seems to be a weakness.

  • RickM

    One game? Respectfully, all of us can pick out one game and make anyone look like a star. The season average tells the tale for me.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    And the guy is young 25yrs old he still has tires

  • RickM

    As he showed in GB with 5 yards on 5 carries at the same age. I think it’s elusiveness and reading holes, not age. But I respect you feel he was worth signing. No sweat with that.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Maybe they didn’t use him much

  • heath miller

    YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNN another FA that has a 50/.50 chance of making the team … im picking up a pattern here .. lol

  • AndyR34

    Not so sure he will be a better returner on our KR team.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    He scored 6tds as a rookie in that yr and was rarely used

  • srdan

    Yes, as a running back. I think he will be the emergency rb and compete for returning kicks.

  • RickM

    This is my last comment. I’m just big on factual performance, not “maybe’s” and “what if”s. I just think he is not a very good RB.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Steelers are signing CB Coty Sensabaugh to a 2-year deal

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Ok u win..we shall wait n see when season starts

  • Petherson Silveira

    I hope for an 1 year vet minumum. He was a castoff from Packers last year and the Packers even had a true RB in their roster.

  • Rocksolid20

    Sadly , I’m sure this is the end of DWill . Thanks for being there when we needed you DWill.

  • Rocksolid20

    There are only one maybe two kick returns per game . Most are touchbacks .

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Busy day for steelers..we n a free agent frenzy now….signing players left n right

  • steelburg

    I think your sleeping on this signing. He has had some really good games in this league. He is still pretty young I can see him holding down our number 2 spot for multiple years. I’m pretty confident in this guy so I don’t mind going against the grain and taking some heat for it. I think he is a really good fit for our team. Like I said he does have some ball security issues and that needs to be worked on, but I think he is definitely going to surprise some fans.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Welcome Knile! I hope your first play is a 99 kick off return td!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Thank you Chris –

    For adding some sanity to the discussion. People need to calm down a little. This is a 1 year (minimal risk) contract for a back up RB (probably 3rd string RB competing with Toussaint).

    The advantage of this signing is primarily special teams (kick returning) which we do need badly. Maybe will get lucky. Certainly Davis (even at his worst) would be more explosive than Toussaint.

    As far as Davis’ running ability in an offensive set, he doesn’t necessarily have very good vision and he fumbles a little more than my liking, but he is still pretty damn fast. I would think that running behind the Steelers OL would provide better results than running behind the Chiefs OL but we shall see.

    The point is, exactly as you stated, Davis should be an upgrade from Toussaint. If he’s not… Adios.

  • Chris92021

    No worries, SSS. And just like the QB position and WR1 position, if anyone other than Le’Veon Bell has to carry the ball for us, we are screwed. I hope people here know that Davis was not brought in to be a 20 carry a game guy. Heck, I hope Davis gets less than 20 carries all season in 16 games, because that would likely mean we have Bell healthy for the entire season. I think most people have in their minds that free agency is about making the big splash. Well, the Steelers front office knows that a few small ripples here and there can go a long way to building a championship roster.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Well he isn’t an upgrade at KR unless our lovely coaches decide to actually put him there. There was an idea that Todman and Gilbert could have been upgrades at KR as well and they were never given much chance.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I seemed to remember a good stretch of games in 2014 so there is some hope for him. Looked it up when I saw this article and it was 3 games late in the season where he got the bulk of the carries 3 games in a row.

    16 for 107
    32 for 132 and a TD
    22 for 79 and 2 TD’s

    Not terrible if he could be that kind of guy at 3rd string.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Obviously I’m going to be in the minority here, but I don’t think this is a bad signing. He was a decent RB in KC when Charles went down. Of course he’s not starter material, but he has speed, nice change of pace RB. I haven’t seen the contract figures, but this is typical Colbert in FA.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Well, well, well… I run to the DMV to take care of my plates/tags, come back and this happened. Alright then, as long as he is here to be our 3rd and NOT the primary backup to Bell… As I stated before, “sure, whatevs.” Another RB returning our Kicks, huh? Again, it’s sort of our MO, so EH, whatevs. WELCOME TO PITTSBURGH, KNILE!

    Don’t mind the few slings and arrows. It’s kinda our thing at first. Been a rough off-season on some fronts. 😉

    (Can we pretty please still draft the backup out of this deliciously loaded RB class?)

  • Matt Manzo

    If he was the #2 I’d be sick, too. But he’s a good #3. If I recall, he’s had fumbling issues, so he might not even make the 53.

  • Matt Manzo

    It’s a good signing for a #3 RB! Seeing what he can do on KRs will be the focus with him.
    He was on a lot of our prospect lists when he was coming out! But it was fumbles and breaking tackles that plagued him, right?
    If he can upgrade our kick returning and stay the #3, I’m ok with the signing.

  • I don’t know much about this guy, but from what I’ve read, he may not even make the 53.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I think toussant is a bum at least a 3rd string at best

  • Dan

    He’s competition for RB/KR. He’s not guaranteed a roster spot or anything, nor will this prevent them from taking an RB in the draft. If anything, this may prevent them from wasting a pick on a gadget player, so…yay?

  • JB Burgess

    Colbert and Co. Killing us slowly…

  • LucasY59

    instant upgrade to Fitz as a KR, has some speed so that could be useful (on O & STs)

    makes them a bit less desperate in the draft for a RB (still time to bring back D-lo, but this signing might make them wait till after the draft to do so)

  • LucasY59

    him returning KOs should be better than the previous MO

  • LucasY59

    I’m good with it as well, he bounced around last yr (chefs, cheeseheads, & jets iirc, only player to move more was christine micheal) so I dont have high expectations, but he should at least give Fitz some competition for the #3 spot (and since they dumped Karlos, that is a need)

  • LucasY59

    and hopefully he wouldnt be needed for a 3 game stretch, but if they did, there is hope for similar/decent production

  • Rotten Sircus

    A poor mans version of D-Lo Williams. Thank God there’s a lot good RB’s in the draft !!!

  • Darth Blount 47

    I hope you’re right Lucas. On the bright side, I do fail to see how he can be any worse.

  • Michael Conrad

    I think he is a fumbler but he when you’re looking for cheap you get it.

  • SilverSteel

    And they call us pessimists for seeing things as they really are…

  • Steel B

    This guy used to be a badass KR and a pretty good backup RB to JC. Worth a shot.

  • TheGURU

    😂🤣😂.. the man got beat out by a WR at RB for the Pack…. smh

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  • ATL96STEELER

    I think we got spoiled a little with the DWill signing. Looking at the FA options, I think they’ve actually done okay across the board considering the money they’ve spent.

    Although they seemed to have genuine interest in Hightower. But with AB, and Bell’s deals to be resolved, there was not going to be a Ladarius Green type signing this yr.

    If Bell was already locked in long term with a lower ’17 CH, I think they could be a little more aggressive. Knile Davis is not going to be the make or break player, but has some skills to contribute.

  • Steve Johnson

    Once again, fishing at the bottom of the lake (Carp). They need to upgrade the RB position, I sure do hope a RB is in play in the 3rd or 4th Rd.