New England officially added its third veteran defensive back via free agency Thursday, signing cornerback Tommy Knight. The team also re-signed exclusive rights free agent Jermaine Wiggings.
Terms of the deal were not released, but Knight reportedly got a two-year contract worth $1.65 million. A first-round pick in 1997 for Arizona, Knight has played his entire career with the Cardinals, mostly as a starter.
With incumbents Ty Law and Otis Smith still in place, Knight looks to be in competition with 2001 draft picks Leonard Myers and Brock Williams for the nickel job. Veterans Terrance Shaw and Terrell Buckley manned the job last season. Shaw was released and signed with Oakland. Buckley is still available and could return, but the signing of Knight removes urgency from such a move.
Arizona did not plan to bring Knight back, and has now lost both its starting corners from last season. Part of the reason the Cardinals allowed Knight to leave through free agency is Knight's injury history. He has started 53 of the 64 games he played in five seasons, but also is coming off a season in which he missed seven games. A former Iowa star, Knight has been held back at times by injuries, and he appeared in just nine games last season. The ninth pick in the 1997 draft, Knight has 233 tackles, three interceptions and 37 passes defensed.
Knight joins safeties Chris Hayes and Rob Kelly as the new members of the secondary. The Patriots have used free agency to add several players on defense, also bringing defensive linemen Rick Lyle and Steve Martin and linebacker Ryan Phillips.
Wiggins played a key role at tight end for New England in his first full season with the team. He caught 14 passes and four touchdowns in the regular season, and then had 14 more receptions in the postseason. Several of his 10 catches in the Divisional Playoff against Oakland came in key moments of the victory.
The new deal for Wiggins does not change the heavy competition he'll face in training camp. The Patriots signed veterans Christian Fauria and Cam Cleeland, and 2001 draft picks Jabari Holloway and Arther Love are still around too.
In other news, USA Today reported the Patriots brought Louisiana State wide receiver Josh Reed in for a visit. The team does not confirm visits with potential draft picks.
Reed, who declared for the draft as a junior, won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in 2001. He caught 108 passes for 1,979 yards and nine touchdowns for the Tigers. Though not the fastest or biggest (5-10, 210 pounds) player, Reed is regarded as an excellent route-runner with strong hands and the ability to catch balls going over the middle. While Reed doesn't have blinding speed, he is very good with the ball after the catch, as evidenced by his average of 18.3 yards per catch last fall.