"He wants the big contract -- which I love," Scot McCloughan recently said. "Come in here play, you know? Be a Pro Bowler. I'm going to take care of you."
Without dancing around the subject too much, here's everything that is wrong with this:
- Knighton is one of the 10 best players at his position. He doesn't need to prove anything.
- What McCloughan likely appreciates is the fact that Knighton accepted a one-year deal worth a maximum of $4 million. Moxie has nothing to do with it.
- Prove-it deals, while a great thing for someone like Jeremy Maclin at age 26, aren't always the best for a 28-year-old defensive lineman whose playing weight hovers in the low-to-mid 300s. All the pressure is on Knighton's shoulders.
- Talking up prove-it deals, especially with a rising cap, is troublesome for young players looking to get into the good graces of general managers. Dustin Keller opted for one a few years back and we've yet to hear from the former first-round pick since he suffered a massive leg injury in 2013.
- McCloughan is now setting himself up to overpay for Knighton if he has a great season, though the cards are stacked against the player. While Knighton is a noticeable player at his position, which can help his Pro Bowl stock, evaluating the job of a nose tackle is difficult. The best ones often don't get the recognition they deserve.
Basically, let's start calling one-year deals for veterans what they are, and not making them a lofty promise that is hard to deliver on.