After losing out on the sweepstakes for former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley to the New Orleans Saints a week ago, the New England Patriots were determined to bolster their defensive tackle depth as April approaches.
This is just what New England accomplished on Thursday evening, signing 29-year old veteran defensive tackle Terrance Knighton to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million as they attempt to replace the loss of both Akiem Hicks and Sealver Siligia, two defensive linemen who played an instrumental role in the team's run to the AFC Championship Game in 2015.
Knighton Boosts Patriots' D-Line
Knighton, who first broke the news that had chosen the Patriots over an offer from the Washington Redskins to return to their ball club for a second season, will back up 2015 first-rounder Malcom Brown and 11-year veteran Alan Branch at the defensive tackle slot in 2016.
"Pot Roast's" main competition for playing time behind these two will come from third-year veteran Dominique Easley and fourth-year man Chris Jones as he attempts to earn playing time in the Patriots 4-3 scheme.
Knighton Nixes Redskins Offer to Join Patriots
A native of Hartford, Ct., just 90 minutes from Gillette Stadium, the Temple product chose to join the pride of New England for the opportunity to compete for his first ever Super Bowl championship ring. Knighton started 15 games for Washington last season, compiling 29 total tackles, 17 solo tackles, and 1.5 sacks while holding down the nose tackle position in the Redskins' 3-4 front and an interior rusher spot in the team's nickel package.
Ironically, the only game that Knighton was not present for in the Redskins' journey to the NFC East title was their shellacking at the hands of the Patriots in Foxborough, Ma. in early November due to cluster headaches.
Entering his ninth season in the NFL after being selected in the third round of the 2009 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Knighton has cemented himself as a dangerous run-stopping clogger of the middle while splitting time with the Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and Redskins, compiling 148 solo tackles, 82 assists, and 14 sacks in his career to date.
Knighton played the first four seasons of his tenure in the league with Jacksonville, playing in all but three games while amassing 140 combined tackles and 6.5 sacks, 4.0 of which came in his breakout season of 2010 after he garnered Sporting News NFL All-Rookie Team honors in 2009 with 45 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks in his inaugural campaign.
He then inked a two-year deal with the Broncos prior to the 2013 season, leading his team to the Super Bowl with a critical fourth down sack of now-teammate Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game in his first season in the Mile High City, a successful year in which he recorded 31 combined tackles and three sacks.
Once that deal expired, Knighton signed a one-year contract with Washington, joining high school teammate Chris Baker on the defensive line under head coach Jay Gruden as the Redskins earned a postseason berth for the first time since 2012.