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Redskins Land Knighton

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Apparently Scot McCloughan’s first order of business was to re-build the Redskins previously unremarkable defensive front. The new General Manager made his third substantial move at the position on Thursday – perhaps his most substantial one.

Washington signed defensive tackle Terrance Knighton to a (reported) one year, $4 million contract on Thursday.

He is a run stuffer. That was his primary role in Denver, and he did it very well. The Broncos were second in the NFL against the run on first down.

The massive 6’3″, 330 pound-plus road grader will be entering his seventh season, and started all 32 games in his two seasons in Denver. He spent his first four years with the Jaguars, who drafted him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft (72nd overall).’s list of the top 101 Free Agents available this offseason, had Knighton listed at number 16. Brian Orakpo is 19th in that same list.

Known affectionately as “Pot Roast”, Knighton was being heavily “recruited” this week by Redskins’ current defensive lineman Chris Baker. Not only are the two giants best friends, but Pot Roast is actually best man at “Swaggy”‘s wedding later this week. Baker shamelessly tweeted a couple of pleas out to Knighton, to join the burgundy and gold, and in the end, you have to think it influenced Knighton’s decision.

Considering that Baker earns a pay check along that same defensive line, and may be relegated to rotational duty, it’s pretty cool that he put the team’s needs above his own – even. He tweeted some sincere happiness following the signing too:

Knighton will start at nose between ends Stephen Paea, and Jason Hatcher on the overhauled line. Paea signed his new contract this morning, and should be able to provide the pass rush that Jarvis jenkins didn’t seem to be able to provide. Baker and new acquisition Ricky Jean Francois will back up those three, as well as providing the versatility to move Hatcher and/or Paea inside on third down.

Knighton isn’t a three down player, so the Redskins could still use a situational passer – preferably someone who can rush from inside; but that could come via the draft, or later in the offseason.

Washington still have holes to fill along the offensive line and in the secondary, but McCloughan’s approach seems to be the same as what has worked for him in the past – build the defense from the inside out.

The Redskins quietly brought in much sought after cornerback Chris Culliver on Thursday, and also hosted Perrish Cox. Either one would drastically improve the secondary.

Safety and the offensive line may prove more challenging. The pool of free agent prospects is limited – and dwindling quickly.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Redskins have the fifth pick in the upcoming draft to bolster their line-up, and this re-building process by McCloughan is far too infantile to be judged too conclusively yet.

So far it looks good. It looks practical. It looks sensible. The Redskins jettisoned some big cap money in Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield, and replaced them with quality players that should be in the prime of their careers, and signed them to respectable contracts.

Frankly, the conservative, methodical approach is something that has been sorely lacking around these parts since…

… you fill in the blank.

Onward and upward Scot. Keep building a better product in D.C.

Hail to the Redskins.

More By Mark Solway

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