Knighton is retiring from the NFL, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The 30-year-old Knighton entered the league in 2009 as a third-round pick of the Jaguars, but it wasn't until he signed with the Broncos in 2013 when his career arguably came to its peak. That season, Knighton accrued 31 tackles, three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception, not to mention a sack of Patriots QB Tom Brady on a crucial fourth down during the AFC championship game that helped propel the Broncos to the Super Bowl. In total, "Pot Roast" will ultimately end his career with 230 tackles, 14 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two interceptions across 108 regular season games. He's now expected to take up a career in coaching.
Knighton was released by the Patriots on Monday, Phil Perry of CSNNE.com reports. Knighton, who signed a one-year deal with Patriots back in March, had a tough time finding reps this preseason, as he failed to take the field against the Panthers on Friday. The veteran defensive tackle did play with the first-team at points during training camp, but has since found himself on the outside looking in behind the likes of Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, and Markus Kuhn. Knighton could attract offers from other teams who are looking to sure-up their defensive line before the season begins.
The Patriots and Knighton agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Although New England and his former employer, Washington, were in the mix for his services, Knighton settled on the former, with whom he should settle into a starting role next to Malcom Brown. Contained to 35 percent of the defensive snaps last season, Knighton matched his career low with 29 tackles in 15 games. A similar usage can be expected in the upcoming campaign, but could increase if he avoids weight and endurance concerns, as Mike Jones of the Washington Post reported Knighton dealt with in 2015.
Knighton will visit with the Patriots on Monday, NFL.com reports. Knighton's visit with New England comes after Nick Fairley opted to sign with the Saints instead of the Patriots. Still, Knighton represents a more than capable alternative. The veteran excels at clogging running lanes, and finished last season with 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 15 games played.
Knighton has been informed that he won't be re-signed by the Redskins this offseason, The Washington Post reports. Knighton signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Redskins last offseason, and finished the 2015 campaign with 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 15 games played. Despite those contributions, Knighton will not be retained by the Redskins, allowing the affectionately-nicknamed "Pot Roast" to engage interested parties ahead of signing elsewhere this offseason.