The Chicago Bears' search for a nose tackle to anchor defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defensive front is expected to result in the team making a strong push to sign 6-foot-3, 335-pound free-agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton when the NFL league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
“I want the process to happen pretty quickly,” Knighton told Anderson. “Once the market opens, I’m going to decide which one I have the strongest interest in and move strategically with potential visits and not waste my time.”
Nicknamed “Pot Roast” due to his massive frame, Knighton spent the last two seasons playing for new Bears head coach John Fox in Denver, where he started all 32 regular-season games. Knighton finished 2014 with 30 tackles and two sacks, but he’s regarded as one of the better run-stopping defensive tackles in the league.
Before Knighton arrived in Denver, he played four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009-12.
Fox said at last month’s NFL combine that veteran Jeremiah Ratliff is an option to help fill the void at nose tackle, but Ratliff is nearing the end of his career. Former second-round pick Ego Ferguson is another candidate to potentially line up over the center, but Knighton is a proven commodity who may command in excess of $7 million per year.
It’s equally important for the Bears to fill the locker room with high-character individuals who possess a certain level of familiarity with the new coaching staff, especially with Fox. A veteran player such as Knighton knows exactly how Fox handles his business and what the head coach expects from the players. Knighton could theoretically pass that information along to the rest of the locker room, helping to create a much better working environment in Lake Forest.
The Bears have also been linked to University of Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton at No. 7 overall in multiple mock drafts.