The Green Bay Packers had an entire offseason to make big moves, cut the players they needed to cut, and finally make their long-awaited change at coach, but they waited until training camp to make one surprising move. On July 24, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Packers had released defensive lineman Mike Daniels, and the team later confirmed that news.
Why Green Bay released Mike Daniels
Mike Daniels was never a nuisance on or off the field, but the team reportedly spent much of the offseason trying to move him before finally cutting their losses and releasing him outright. The move might have been little more than a cost-cutting measure, as it saved the team $8.3 million in cap space; Daniels was owned $8.1 million if he made the team.
After missing eight games over the previous two seasons, the Packers may have been worried about the 30-year old’s health with regards to the team’s future. He was older than the rest of the linemen, and also smaller. If the Packers were trying to focus on size, he was the easiest target for release, regardless of whether or not his age and injuries played another factor.
Many believe that Montravius Adams, the third-year defensive lineman who remains with the Packers, could be the player they have eyes on as an upgrade from Daniels. Although he has started slow, the Packers may use this opportunity to get a definitive answer as to whether or not Adams can be the future of the Packers’ defensive line.
Before being released, Daniels had spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers. After coming off of the bench for most of his first two seasons, he became the Packers’ full-time starter in 2014, and he kept that position for the rest of his career. Before the previous two years, he was hardly injured, and despite missing two games in 2017, he made his first Pro Bowl.
During his first seven seasons, he has amassed 236 combined tackles and 29 sacks. While he may not be a perennial star, his presence on a defensive line was never in question, which makes his release all the more surprising. Lucky for Daniels, he did not have to wait long to prove his talent elsewhere.
Signing with the Detroit Lions
It did not take Mike Daniels long to find a new NFL home after his release. The lineman was a hot commodity almost immediately after his release, with 13 teams contacting him within an hour of his release. In the end, one team offered him what he wanted, and that team was the Detroit Lions. According to Daniels, it was head coach Matt Patricia who sold him on the decision to go to Detroit.
“He’s just a genius,” Daniels told the Detroit Lions website. “He understands the game of football. He knows what it takes. So to be able to play for a coach like that, it means everything. I’m really trying to be restrained right now because I’m so excited. If I could do a backflip right now, I’d do one, but I can’t. I’m really excited.”
A defensive-minded coach, it should come to no surprise that a player like Daniels would think so highly of Patricia.
We can only wait and see what the Packers, Mike Daniels, and the Lions will accomplish throughout the year. It may not have been an indictment on any of the teams or players involved, but a chance for a fresh start on all ends. Daniels looks to be a vital part of the Lions’ defense going into the 2019 season, and the Packers will have to hope that they didn’t make the wrong decision.