Intent on adding some playmaking skills to their secondary, the Kansas City Chiefs late Thursday reached agreement with unrestricted free agent safety Sammy Knight on a five-year contract worth $11 million, with $2.7 million in bonuses.
The eight-year veteran, who played the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, has been one of the top safeties in the league, in terms of producing takeaways, for much of his NFL career. Even in 2004, in what some Dolphins coaches considered an average year for Knight, he still had four interceptions and one fumble recovery.
For his career, most of which was spent with the New Orleans Saints, Knight has 35 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, nine forced fumbles and 65 passes defensed.
Greg Wesley had four interceptions for the Chiefs in 2004 but neither he nor safety partner Jerome Woods are known as natural ballhawks. Both are physical hitters, good tacklers, but seem to lack range.
Chiefs vice president of pro personnel Billy Kuharich, who signed Knight as an undrafted free agent in 1997 while in New Orleans, was instrumental in recruiting the veteran.
The Chiefs, who still boast one of the NFL's most potent offenses, have concentrated on upgrading their porous defense, which statistically ranked last in the league in 2004, in the offseason. Kansas City earlier this week signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Kendrell Bell, formerly of Pittsburgh, and continues to court other free agent defenders.
It is believed that the Chiefs would like to add a cornerback and former New England star Ty Law, still rehabilitating from foot surgery, might soon visit with team officials.
Knight, 29, drew interest from several teams in the opening two weeks of free agency, but liked what he saw during his visit to Kansas City, and struck a quick deal there. The former Southern California star played in New Orleans 1997-2002, before being released by the Saints and signing with the Dolphins.
He has 759 tackles in 126 games and has lined up at both safety spots.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.