Iowa football: Mike Daniels spurns Super Bowl teams to sign with Lions

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Defensive end Mike Daniels
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Defensive end Mike Daniels /

Former Iowa football player Mike Daniels quickly found a home with the Detroit Lions after being released from the Green Bay Packers.

Former Iowa football player Mike Daniels spent seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers starring on the defensive line but after an injury-plagued 2018 season, the Pack released him earlier this week in a somewhat surprising decision.

Although it hurts the team in the short term, the decision freed up $8 million in cap space for the Packers to use this year or rollover into the 2020 offseason. Once released, it was reported that Daniels was looking to sign with a Super Bowl contender leading us to believe that the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, or the Kansas City Chiefs would be in contention for the 30-year olds services.

However, in a somewhat surprising move, Daniels decided to join fellow Iowa football players Matt Nelson and TJ Hockenson in the Motor City and play for the Detroit Lions.

I would not call the Lions a Super Bowl team, or to be honest, even a playoff team which is what makes this move surprising. According to Adam Schefter, Daniels received interest from nearly half of the NFL including the Cleveland.

Yet, it appears money talks.

Daniels received $9.1 million for this year of services and will enter free agency again after the season.

For the Lions, this move makes perfect sense. They had the cap room to do it, and head coach Matt Patricia is a defensive guy who comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Like Belichick, Patricia values versatile defenders like Daniels who can play inside in a 4-3 defense or on the edge in a 3-4 defense.

Moreover, the Lions are currently in the middle of a contract holdout with star defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison who reported to camp but was placed on the NFI (non-football injury) list. If Snacks is ready in time for the regular season, I expect Daniels to occupy the other defensive tackle spot in Detroit’s 4-3 defense.

Last season, Detroit finished 11th in sacks on defense and top-10 in rushing defense. Adding Daniels only figures to improve that.

This move also signals to me that the Lions think they are a playoff team that can compete in a loaded NFC North. You don’t just sign a 30-year old defensive tackle to a $9 million deal if you don’t.

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Regardless, congratulations Mike Daniels!