A day after guaranteeing that the Broncos would win the Super Bowl, pending free agent Terrance Knighton said he'd like to remain in Denver, perhaps even at a slight discount to the market.
The defensive captain told Andrew Mason,
So Denver is definitely where I want to be, and when that time comes, if they're in the ballpark, I'll be a Bronco.
The comment came up while discussing the new contract of Chris Harris, who almost assuredly took less money from Denver than he could have gotten via unrestricted free agency. As Knighton tells it, his own experiences playing for the perennial loser Jaguars served as perspective for Harris during the corner's recent negotiation:
I told Chris, just coming where I came from, the grass is not greener on the other side. And sometimes it means a lot more to be in a winning organization and making money than being in a losing organization and making money and playing for two years and thinking you're gone or you're going somewhere else.
Sometimes, winning overshadows how much money you make. Because I'm pretty sure there's guys that wish they were on winning teams that would sacrifice a few million dollars to be in the position we're in...
I don't want to leave. I want to be here. But I've been in the position before, I know how it works. So you've got to do what's right for your family. But you've also got to do what's right for your career.
There have been no reports of a negotiation between the Broncos and Knighton, who was John Elway's bargain signing of the 2013 offseason (two years, $4.5M). The monstrous run stuffer had his agent approach the team about a new deal prior to this season, but was rebuffed.
If Mike Klis is right, and Knighton is worth $10M/year on the open market, it's easily conceivable that Denver just won't have room for him within their budget, even with a hometown discount. It may come down to Sly Williams and Marvin Austin stepping into larger roles next year.
But a look at the league's highest paid 4-3 defensive tackles suggests the top dollars go to tackles who are equally dominant in defending the run and rushing the passer. Knighton isn't one of those guys, and doesn't see nearly as many snaps as them; he's played around 30% fewer snaps than players like Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Marcell Dareus, and Kyle Williams.
The top run-stuffing tackles seem to get deals in the neighborhood of $5M-7M annually, which is where we'd currently peg Knighton's value.