The Green Bay Packers made a shocking decision Wednesday morning when they released veteran defensive lineman Mike Daniels. He has played every season of his 7-year NFL career in Green Bay and been a starter on the team’s defensive front for the last five years.
While it came as a surprise, there is some logic behind the move. For starters, it saves the Packers over $8 million in cap space, and with newly signed Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith in town, along with a few major extensions needing to be done soon, one can see why Daniels became a cap casualty.
A loss for Green Bay is a win for the Detroit Lions, though, and the Lions can further their gain from this move if they were to add Daniels to their own pass rushing arsenal.
Assuming Daniels is healthy, he is the perfect land for Detroit’s defensive front. This Lions defense loves smaller defensive ends who are great with their hands and can defend well against the run. He is versatile as well, as he has the ability to play at both 3-tech and nose tackle.
Similar to Trey Flowers—Daniels is an efficient pass rusher who can fill multiple positions.
It is hard to judge the market for Daniels at the moment, though. No player being signed this late into the offseason is going to end up commanding a huge deal, but one could see how he could demand a substantial salary on a one-year deal. While it will certainly be less than the $10 million the Packers were set to pay him, Daniels could potentially be costly for the team he ends up with.
Daniels recent injuries could play a role in the size of his market as well. While he has had a relatively healthy career, he missed six games last season after he was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Detroit is set to start the season with around $23 million in cap space. Some of that money has to be set aside for potentially extending both guard Graham Glasgow and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson as they are set to enter contract years in 2019.
It is hard to tell whether or not Daniels will be an affordable option for the Lions at the moment, but he is a scheme fit that fills a position of need for the team. At minimum, Bob Quinn and Detroit’s front office should at least be taking a look at the newly available defender.