Biggest Steal in Free Agency?
Washington Redskins nose tackle Terrance Knighton found himself in a weird predicament during free-agency this year. After two solid seasons with the Denver Broncos he received little interest from other teams, despite being arguably the best nose tackle on the market. It’s a situation that has led to Knighton viewing himself as the biggest steal of free-agency this year.
“Yeah, I was [the biggest steal],” Knighton said last Tuesday. “But I’ve always bet on myself. I consider myself a premier player in this league, and I’ve got a lot of football left. This will be my seventh season, so when I hit the table again, there won’t be any excuses next time.”
Most thought that Knighton would sign in Oakland, where his former coordinator in Denver and Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio, moved to this offseason. When Oakland passed and Denver refused to give Knighton the contract he was looking for, the options dwindled to near nothing. The thought is that most teams have questions surrounding Knighton’s weight, better yet his inability to keep it under control.
“Yeah, maybe my weight was an issue for some, but my thing is turn on the tape. There have been plenty of big guys. I’m not the first big guy to come through this league. You’ve got Vince Wilfork, you’ve got Casey Hampton. All these types of guys who have been big and successful and got big contracts. But turn on my tape. There are guys at my position in this league who make more money than me, but who can’t fit into my shoes.”
Knighton believes there were ulterior motives behind him not getting a bigger contract in 2015. “To make it clear, last year in Denver I didn’t play third downs just because I think for contractual reasons,” he said. “That’s absolutely what happened. My first year in Denver I played on third down. When we made that Super Bowl run, when guys were hurt, I was one of the only stars left on the D-line, and I was out there on third down and I led the charge. So I proved I can play on third down, but there’s a lot of politics involved. I’m just happy to be in Washington.”
Once it was clear the Broncos weren’t going to resign Knighton, he spoke with the media making it known he believed the Broncos only cared about signing Peyton Manning. “I said that before and I mean it,” Knighton said. “When I say things, that’s how I feel. And they feel as long as they’ve got No. 18 at quarterback, everybody else will fall in line, you know?”
Hidden in all of this was the fact that Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker was childhood best friends with Knighton, and was secretly recruiting him to join him in DC.
Knighton said while he played as low as 325–330 pounds during his final of four seasons in Jacksonville in 2012, he loses too much strength if he drops below 340. “I’m just naturally a big guy, a 340–350-pound player,” he said. “But I’m a special type of 350 in that I can move like guys who are 300 pounds.”
“People don’t believe because he’s so big now, but he was a 250-pound all-state receiver in high school,” said Baker. “They don’t make those any more. For a guy his size, you don’t see anybody who can carry the weight that he has and be able to move his feet the way he can. A guy who weights 350 should not be able to move the way he moves.”
Knighton intends to provide veteran, winning leadership in Washington and play his way back on the field on third downs, because “that’s where the money is made”.
“This is a good group we have in the defensive lineman room,” Knighton said. “We’re going to be fast and physical on the defensive side of the ball, and I’m just here to dominate that line of scrimmage like I’ve been doing the past three years, bringing some leadership and showing these guys what it takes to get to that next level and play in the Super Bowl.”