The Packers should bring back Pro Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels.
The Green Bay Packers’ decision to release Mike Daniels came as a huge surprise last summer. In hindsight, it’s also unsurprising the Packers’ run defense fell apart without him.
Daniels told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’d “definitely love to go back to Green Bay”. General manager Brian Gutekunst should make it happen.
Daniels spent the 2019 season with the Detroit Lions but is currently a free agent and it would make a ton of sense for the Packers to bring him back.
Packers shouldn’t be worried about Daniels’ recent injury history
Daniels’ injury history is a slight concern but the Packers would be able to bring him back on a short-term, risk-free contract. If he can stay healthy and get anywhere close to the level he was at just two seasons ago, the Packers would be getting a bargain.
Daniels only played nine games with the Lions last season and 10 the year prior in Green Bay. But to say he’s been injury-prone throughout his career would be completely wrong. Before the past two seasons, Daniels missed just four games in six years with the Packers.
He’s as tough as they come and has played at a high level even when dealing with injuries over the years.
A Pro Bowler just three seasons ago, Daniels is only 31 years old and could still have plenty to offer this defense.
Daniels’ leadership would boost defense
We can talk all day about Daniels’ numbers. For example, between 2013 and 2017 he had 25 sacks. Not only does he offer interior pass rush but he’s also strong against the run. According to Pro Football Focus, he earned a 75.0 grade or better in run defense in five of his first seven seasons with the Packers.
But just as important as his production on the field is his leadership. Za’Darius and Preston Smith are two great leaders for this team. Daniels would give them another experienced player who will lead by example.
Green Bay was humiliated in the NFC Championship Game with San Francisco running all day long without any resistance. This defense boasts a strong pass rush, but it now needs to get tougher inside against the run.
Daniels’ contract may have played a role in Gutekunst’s decision to move on last offseason, but with the team’s struggles against the run, bringing back the Pro Bowl defensive tackle on a short-term deal would make all the sense in the world.