2014 Salary: 1.5 million+ 250K signing bonus + 1 million roster bonus
Projected 2015 Salary: 5 million
2014 Role: Starter, DT, Base 4-3
Projected 2015 Role: Starter, NT, Base 3-4
There are two reasons why Terrance Knighton should not garner elite money on the open market:
1) He played just a bit less than 50% of the snaps and was primarily in there when the Broncos played the run.
2) He had only two sacks and is not the pass-rushing phenom like other players on the market (Suh).
Teams will view Knighton as a two-down run-stuffer.
According to Pro Football Focus, Knighton was your 11th ranked DT in run stop percentage with an overall score of 8.5%. For reference, Damon Harrison led the league in this category with 12.5%.
When we look at pass rush productivity (pass rushing snaps divided by total pressures), Knighton scores at 4.5%. The league leader was Kyle Williams of Buffalo who graded out at 9.5%.
To be fair to Knighton, in Jack Del Rio's defense, none of his tackles play a lion's share of the snaps. The one with the most tread this past season was Derek Wolfe who played about 66.3% of the time.
Knighton should not garner the type of payday befitting a full time starter, nor should his pay be inflated due to pass rushing capabilities. Terrance is a good all-around tackle that can anchor the middle of the Broncos defense on base downs--this is the price the Broncos should be paying.
Need for a Nose Tackle
With Wade's new 3-4 defense, the Broncos will need a nasty, disruptive leader in the middle. Sylvester Williams would be the alternative at the moment and has been a disappointment thus far is his early career.
Need for a leader
When Elway speaks of leadership, of players that play kicking and screaming till the end, this is the sort of man you want on your team. All season long Terrance took it upon himself to defend his team and teammates against an onslaught of trashtalk week to week. And when we were all clamoring about how the road to Arizona would go through New England, Pot Roast was here to tell anyone that would listen "IDGAF about who we play or where we play to make it to the Super Bowl!"
The defensive side of the ball possessed something the offense sorely lacked in 2014: a vocal leader. Some players in this league bark, some ball, some do both. Knighton is one that does both and in order for this team to become a group of elite playmakers, you have to have vocal leaders. You have to have someone that will hold people accountable and encourage when the road is rough.
With Knighton, the Broncos are getting a leader, not just a wide-body to clog up the "A" gap. There is no tangible value that one can put on leadership. It's the lottery ticket that keeps cashing in.