Mike Daniels was once a staple along the Green Bay Packers defensive line. Drafted in 2012 a few rounds (pick #132) later than Derek Wolfe, he spent his first seven years playing in Green Bay and was a surprise cut heading into last year’s offseason.
He then signed with the Detroit Lions for a one-year deal which expired at the end of 2019, so he will be on the open market again.
What kind of contract could he get
His last deal was a bit of a one year prove-it deal as he was coming off a foot injury that ended his 2018 season in Green Bay and likely led to him being let go.
The deal he signed with Detroit was starting defensive lineman money, but he would only end up playing about 18% of the team’s snaps as he injured his other foot, and was later put on IR for an arm injury at the end of the season.
With all his injury troubles the last two seasons, I can’t imagine the market will be very big for him. It will likely consist of another one year deal to prove he can stay healthy, and be significantly discounted from his deal last year.
Why the Broncos should sign him
When healthy, Daniels is a good interior defender. In Green Bay he showed ability to push the pocket and win as a pass rusher, while also being stout in the running game.
Look at how heavy Daniels' hands are, combined with the leverage and quickness he plays with, good luck. 2 weren't enough: pic.twitter.com/kjKBsu6wFB— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 14, 2018
Finished up reviewing Mike Daniels season not too long ago. He was an absolute beast against the run from both the 1 & 3-technique. Very quick processor, plays w/outstanding leverage, and has elite play strength: pic.twitter.com/0UTJJT2bUE— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) July 20, 2018
At 30 years old he isn’t in his prime, but even during the games he was healthy last year with the Lions, there were flashes of the player he used to be in Green Bay.
He is a good fit in Denver’s scheme and current roster needs as well. Denver needs a player who can play defensive end in base packages, stack/shed and hold up in the run game, and then kick inside to play the 1/2i tech in sub packages while providing enough of a pass rush push to draw some attention.
Here he controls both B and C gaps and sheds to make the stop. pic.twitter.com/2D1QFWZfAT— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) February 23, 2020
After watching some of his tape from Detroit, Daniels impressed me in the pass rush department and looked solid in the running game as well.
Why the Broncos shouldn’t sign him
Injuries. They were the reason he was let go (along with his cap number) in Green Bay, and derailed his season again in Detroit. It would certainly be a risk for Denver to bring him in with the intention of leaning on him for significant snaps.
He isn’t the player he once was, but I think he is definitely worth a look as a depth signing in free agency, as long as his price tag reflects the risk Denver would be assuming, signing a player who hasn’t played a full season in two years.
Daniels fits Denver’s scheme and what they need on the defensive line, and might have enough left in the tank to give them some solid rotational snaps on the interior.
If I’m the Broncos I would at least kick the tires.