Super Bowl champions replace Gibril Wilson with Sammy Knight

Veteran safety Sammy Knight signed a three-year contract with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Monday, replacing the departed Gibril Wilson.

Financial terms were not immediately available, but it was believed Knight will get between $5 million and $6 million.

That's a lot less than Wilson, the free safety who left the Giants for a $39 million contract with the Oakland Raiders.

"I think this is a great situation for me," Knight said. "This is a great staff, first and foremost, and a great organization. They won the Super Bowl, and they have a lot of people coming back, so the opportunity to win again was definitely one of the determining factors in me coming here."

A 12-year veteran who will turn 33 in September, Knight led the Jacksonville Jaguars with 93 tackles last season. He also had four interceptions and a forced fumble.
Knight added 20 tackles in the postseason, including 13 in the wild-card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I did a great job for Jacksonville and we talked to them, but ultimately, this was a better place for me," Knight said. "I felt like I had a better chance to win here."

His 42 career interceptions are tied with Champ Bailey for third among active players, trailing Darren Sharper (53) and Ty Law (52).

"We're excited to have a veteran of Sammy's caliber joining our secondary," general manager Jerry Reese said. "We were attracted to how smart he plays and how productive and physical he plays. We think he will thrive in our defensive schemes. He brings a lot of leadership to the team, especially to the secondary, and he is a real pro."

Knight has worked with defensive backs coach Pete Giunta during a two-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs (2005-06) and also played with cornerback Sam Madison during two seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2003-04).

"We feel like with his love of the game and his attitude about the idea of team that he'll be a real nice fit for us," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Sammy gives us another quality veteran who will definitely help our young guys in their development."

Knight has played mostly strong safety in his first 11 seasons in the NFL, the same spot played last year by returning starter James Butler. One will have to move to free safety. Rookie Michael Johnson also played well at safety in his rookie season.

Undrafted out of Southern California, Knight has started 168 of the 174 regular-season games and all five postseason games in which he's appeared. He has played in 156 consecutive regular-season games, the NFL's 14th-longest current streak. He has missed only two games in his career, both in 1998.

His first NFL start was on Sept. 28, 1997 against the Giants in Giants Stadium. He had 11 tackles and an interception in a 14-9 loss.