Oakland Raiders Likely to Pursue Terrance Knighton
By Chase Ruttig
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (98) reacts to a play during the first quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The rumblings that the Oakland Raiders are likely to poach one of the Denver Broncos top defensive linemen are continuing as the Denver Post are pegging the AFC West rivals to be competing for the services of defensive tackle Terrance Knighton once 2015 NFL Free Agency begins in early March.
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Knighton has had a connection to the Raiders since Jack Del Rio was named the head coach in Oakland back in January, the defensive coordinator of the Broncos last season having a strong professional relationship with the defensive tackle who has said he could see himself reuniting with his former coach down the road. Something that has built momentum as Knighton is a free agent this offseason right after Del Rio jumped to the Raiders.
According to the Post, the Broncos have yet to negotiate a new deal with Knighton and the Raiders are a real contender to steal him out of Denver at a reasonable price tag according to sources. A reported price tag of $30 million over five years being more than affordable for the Raiders, who have one of the highest cap space totals going into free agency.
The Post report also identifies the Detroit Lions as a potential buyer for Knighton should they lose their superstar defensive tackle in Ndamukong Suh, but the Raiders appear to be an overwhelming favorite when it comes to stealing the nose tackle from the Broncos this offseason.
From the Denver Post
"A team captain and locker room leader, Knighton is a free agent. He said he will take less to remain in Denver, but there have been no contract talks this offseason. With the coaching staff set, the Broncos have just begun evaluating their personnel and needs.If Knighton reaches the open market next month, the Broncos will be hard-pressed to match a team offering, say, $30 million over five years. The Oakland Raiders are expected to pursue Knighton, and the Detroit Lions could have interest if Ndamukong Suh signs elsewhere."
Knighton is a veteran player who the Broncos could let walk, so the Raiders are very much in-play when it comes to the outstanding interior defensive lineman and who will be getting his services for the 2015 season. Jack Del Rio will also likely be in general manager Reggie McKenzie’s ear when it comes to pursuing Knighton based on the relationship he has with the defensive tackle who has spent the majority of his career with the new Raiders head coach guiding him.
If the Raiders are to pursue Knighton at the reported price of around $6 million per season, the price would fit a player who has been one of the top run stoppers and space fillers in the middle of the trenches in the NFL for the past few seasons. Knighton moved from Jacksonville where he was coached by Del Rio to Denver and has became one of the top defensive tackles in the league on one of the NFL’s best defenses, so the price would fit the need for the Raiders to bring in a top interior lineman to pair with 2014 Draft selection Justin “Jelly” Ellis.
It remains to be seen if the Raiders will be in the market for Knighton, but all signs point towards Reggie McKenzie competing with John Elway and the Broncos for the services of Pot Roast during free agency. With the Broncos having a tight cap space situation assuming Peyton Manning returns, the Raiders may just be able to outbid their AFC West rivals without having to break the bank to do so. If that can happen expect the defensive tackle to return by Del Rio’s side, this time with an Oakland Raiders defense that could use his imposing presence to free up space for outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Sio Moore to make big plays.