We Don't Need Terrance Knighton
As much as I love pot roast, I don’t want Terrance Knighton in Green Bay.
The defensive tackle is now a free agent, released this morning by the New England Patriots. Theoretically, he could help the Packers, who are already thin up front due to the offseason departure of B.J. Raji and the pending suspension of Mike Pennell.
Many people are already connecting the dots, hoping to see the Packers bring Knighton in for a look:
Indeed, people have been high on Knighton for a long time:
But I’m not exactly sure why.
The appeal of a big guy is undeniable, I suppose, especially with the Packers being admittedly weak up front. And along those lines, the Packers have actually had some pretty decent success with free agent linemen over the past decade or so. Grady Jackson brought some girth and surprising quickness to the front line. Howard Green was a key contributor down the stretch in the 2010 Super Bowl run. Even Letroy Guion has his merits.
But that’s exactly the snag. Could Knighton even come close to matching those three signings? I don’t think so.
Terrance Knighton is mostly marketing at this point in his career. He’s a chubby dude with a great nickname. Honestly, who wouldn’t love to have a friend who goes by Pot Roast? But that’s truly about it.
According to Pro Football Focus (whose musings I take with a justified grain of salt), Knighton finished 2015 as the 61st best interior defender in football. He was only slightly better than Mike Pennel (62) and Letroy Guion (65) and is now a year older and playing poorly enough to not make it through the first round of New England’s cuts. The Patriots thought highly enough of Knighton in the offseason to throw $650,000 in guaranteed money his way, yet they’re still parting ways. That’s a significant red flag, even if the Packers do need depth up front. I consider that red flag significant enough to justify passing on Knighton.
(Incidentally, PFF has previously named Green Bay as a potential landing spot for Knighton.)
There’s a philosophical issue at play, and I think it could be clouding the judgement of some Packers fans. As fans, we know our team the best, and familiarity, as the saying goes, does tend to breed contempt. We know the warts of this particular roster better than most, and it’s easy to assume that someone from outside the roster, whose merits are obvious and whose flaws are less apparent, could be an improvement.
Perhaps Knighton could be a good signing, but we don’t have a lot of reason to think so. His past performance puts him roughly on par with what the Packers already have, and with promising UFA’s Tyler Kuder and Brian Price already in Green Bay, I don’t see any reason for the Packers to dish up any Pot Roast right now.