Attention to AFC South Wide Receivers: There will be a new “KNIGHT” Watch coming to the middle of the field near you. The Jaguars have signed free agent strong safety Sammy Knight, adding a vet to the squad’s group of youngsters at the safety spot. Jacksonville will add a “Knight” to its already dynamite defense, expecting to bolster its secondary, upgrading it from “harmless” to “armored” by picking up this hard-hitting defensive back, that will have WR’s make sure they put on a hard hit when Knight roams the field, accompanied with a huge knockout that will bring the pass catcher to the turf.
Teams will keep an eye on this safety who packs more than just his gear every Sunday and receviers will know he is there when they hear his footsteps. “Smart, tough, veteran safety; he’ll get a chance to compete for a backup role,” head coach Jack Del Rio said of Knight, who at 6-foot, 205 pounds, will enter his 11th NFL season in 2007.
The team also released safety Kevin McCadam. Knight started 16 games in each of the last eight seasons, playing with New Orleans, Miami and Kansas City. The Chiefs released him in March. Knight worked out with the Jaguars this morning and then signed a one-year deal worth $820,000. Former New York Giant first-round pick Shaun Williams and former Pro-Bowl veteran safety Robert Griffith (Cleveland, Arizona, and Minnesota) worked out too.
Knight brings plenty of experience and leadership to Jacksonville, which replaced starters Deon Grant and Donovin Darius in the off-season. He is known for his intimidating presence over the middle, as he brings some pop to his licks, for opposing pass catchers who dare to come by his area of work. He is not the best coverage man but he can demand attention and have receivers become aware of his instinctive play where he sets up shop, waiting for targets, ready to deliver a big hit, jarring the ball loose or knocking a helmet straight off.
Though he is old and is losing his quickness edge, he can bring some intensity to a Jags secondary that lacks an imposing threat besides their elite CB Rashaun Mathis. The Jaguars drafted safety Reggie Nelson (Florida) with the 21st overall pick, a player with good ball hawking skills and hitting ability. Strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh is the other safety. Some move needed to be done because of the team’s backup play at the safety position.
Neither fifth-round pick Josh Gattis, Nick Sorensen or McCadam had done enough to earn a backup spot alongside Jamaal Fudge. The team expects Knight to fill that role and possibly start next to Nelson. Knight has played 158 games over 10 seasons — the first six in New Orleans, then two in Miami and two in Kansas City. He has 1,067 career tackles, 38 interceptions and eight sacks.