Back to the Pack? Daniels Hints At Possible Return To Green Bay

Ryan Sjoberg |@Ryan_Sjoberg

The former #76 for the Green and Gold has been pretty vocal on the internet lately. He’s been responding to critics, posting workout videos and appearing on radio shows as his free agency drags on through the month of May.

According to an interview with Wilde & Tausch, a radio show based in
Milwaukee, Daniels claims he’s ready to go and he’s not signed because of COVID-19. The Pandemic has made it difficult for teams to get team physicians to take a look at free agent players to see if they check out physically. Daniels is no different. Coming off a let-down season with Detroit in which he only appeared in nine games before ending on IR due to an arm injury, he’s hungry and he’s fresh… But would he be open to a possible return to Green Bay? When he was asked about if a return to the Green and Gold, Daniels gave an interesting response.

“Anything that I have heard is classified. What I will say is that I am very excited at the possibility and opportunity of coming back if that were indeed a thing. You know, Green Bay is home. It’s one of my homes. New Jersey. Iowa. Green Bay, Wisconsin.”

Hmmm… Interesting that he says anything he’s heard is classified. Do the
Packers have a contract with Daniels done contingent on a passed physical?Is this Daniels trying to get fans to put some pressure on the organization? I don’t think anyone is really quite sure of that. In the event that Daniels does come back home to Dairyland, I’ll offer up some reasons as to why that would be a solid move.

Leadership

Since the moment Mike Daniels entered the Packers locker room back in 2012, he has been looked at as one of the guys that commanded the attention and respect of his teammates. He’s been a role model in the locker room, on the field and out in the community, taking time out for fundraiser events, spending extra time with the media and bringing his lunch pail to work each and every day. I think with a relatively young defensive front, Daniels would have a lot to offer aside from his actual play if he were signed to a deal.

Affordability

This next point, because of the business nature of the NFL, is crucial. How much will Daniels cost? In 2019, the Iowa product received a one-year, $9.1 million dollar deal from the Lions. The cost won’t get anywhere near that this time around. I’d be thrilled with a one-year deal for $3.5 million, making it a low-risk, relatively high potential late signing. This signing could help immediately with the run defense, while allowing the Packers to see what they have in Kingsley Keke, Montravious Adams, and Tyler Lancaster.

Potential Production

I get it, Mike may not be quite the player he once was, but he is only two NFL seasons removed from his best year as a pro. In 2017, Daniels earned his first Pro-Bowl nod with 49 tackles, 5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 14 QB hits to his name. If asked to come back in 2020, he will no longer be ‘the guy’ and will no longer be asked to swallow double teams or play every down on defense. With the defensive front seven the Packers have built in the past two seasons, they would need Daniels to stop the run on first down and play the occasional second down. The Smith Brothers and Rashan Gary will offer more than enough pass rush on 3rd downs.

Depth is key along the defensive line and outside of Kenny Clark, there are a bunch of question marks in the trenches. Daniels is a known commodity with experience in the system. It’s pieces like this that can potentially make a good defense great.

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