Defensive lineman Mike Daniels, released Wednesday by the Green Bay Packers, could significantly beef up the New England Patriots’ defensive front-line.
According to a report from NESN’s Zack Cox, New England was one of three teams contacted by Green Bay regarding a potential trade for star defensive lineman Mike Daniels. The other two franchises were Kansas City and Cleveland.
Unable to find an interested suitor willing to meet their terms, the Packers ultimately decided to release Daniels on Wednesday, ending what had been a seven-year marriage between player and team. Green Bay originally drafted Daniels out of Iowa in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky cited “a big salary, combined with an injury and some high-priced additions on defense” as the major contributing factors that led to Daniels’ release. The Packers save $8.5 million this season against the cap by cutting the veteran, who missed eight games over the past two seasons with hip and foot injuries after previously playing four complete seasons wire-to-wire.
Even though the Patriots and Packers ultimately couldn’t agree upon a trade that satisfied both parties, would it make sense for New England to now attempt to sign Daniels as a free agent? He is reportedly seeking a Super Bowl contender, according to Cox, and the Patriots obviously fit that bill as the reigning world champions and a perennial NFL powerhouse.
It might not be that simple, though. For as much as a player of Daniels’ obvious talent and ability would seemingly benefit the New England defensive line – which is probably the weakest unit on an otherwise-exceptional Patriots defense – it’s unclear if Bill Belichick would be willing to ante up to Daniels’ financial costs.
Complicating the matter further is the free agency addition of Mike Pennel, formerly of the New York Jets, who arrived in New England essentially to replace the departed Malcom Brown. While Daniels has shown the flexibility and versatility to play at different spots along the line over the course of his career, he seems best suited for an area in the middle, and that’s now occupied by players Pennel, Lawrence Guy, and Adam Butler… all of whom played well in 2018 and could be major contributors again this season.
Overall, Daniels’ addition to the Patriots would inarguably benefit them on paper and probably on the field as well, but he still might prove too costly for such a transaction to be ultimately worth it.