The peak of offseason excitement for Detroit Lions fans in 2019 was when the team signed former Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels just as training camp was getting underway. Daniels added a pass rushing threat to a defensive line that was already looking strong on paper. Not only was Daniels a former Pro Bowl, but he was thrilled to be in Detroit.
Obviously, things didn’t work out like anyone in Detroit would have hoped, but it appears Daniels’ enthusiasm for the Lions hasn’t waned at all. The 30-year-old defensive tackle said he wants to return to Detroit for his ninth NFL season.
“(I) definitely, definitely want to be back here,” Daniels told the Detroit Free Press this week.
The Lions signed Daniels to a one-year, $8.1 million contract in 2019. Unfortunately for both sides, that resulted in just nine games played, 10 tackles and 1.0 sacks, as Daniels struggled with a foot injury and eventually landed on injured reserve with an injury to his arm.
The good news? The move to end his season appeared to be precautionary, and he feels healthy enough to play already.
“I’m good,” he said. ”I think it was one of those precautionary things like, ‘Oh, the season’s over.’”
The Detroit Lions have a lot of difficult decisions on the defensive side of the ball. After a failed season, plenty of roster changes will be made, and the defensive front could look completely different next year. A’Shawn Robinson will be an unrestricted free agent, Damon Harrison Sr. is pondering retirement, and it’s unclear if the Lions feel mutual about bringing back Daniels.
On one hand, the Lions truly missed having a interior pass rush last year with the injury to Daniels and Da’Shawn Hand. On the other hand, Daniels hasn’t played a full season in three years and has crossed over the dreaded 30-year-old barrier.
Daniels’ talent is undeniable and his excitement to stay in Detroit is rare, but the injury and age concerns are real, giving Lions management a tough decision on the horizon.