The Detroit Lions swung for the fences to try and get a pass rush in the 2019 season and the results were mixed at best for the team.
As a result, it could be time for the Lions to move on from one of the veteran players they signed in order to try and fill the gap. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels was a late addition to the team near the end of training camp, but things didn’t pan out after that point.
That leads Bleacher Report writer Brad Gagnon to proclaim Daniels as the one free agent the Lions have to move on from this offseason. Here’s a look at what he wrote on why that’s the case:
“The Mike Daniels experiment didn’t work out for the Detroit Lions.
Detroit signed the veteran defensive lineman soon after he was surprisingly released by the division rival Green Bay Packers in July, but Green Bay might have been on to something regarding Daniels’ decline. The 30-year-old’s tackle and sack totals plummeted in his final season there, and injuries were again a big factor in what was essentially a lost debut campaign with Detroit.
Daniels started just two games and contributed just one sack and 10 tackles to the Lions, who acquired interior defensive lineman Damon Harrison from the New York Giants ahead of the trade deadline. Harrison is actually five months older than Daniels, but he’s coming off a strong, complete campaign and he’s under contract for two more years.
The Lions should bring back A’Shawn Robinson to partner up with Harrison, since Robinson still has plenty of upside as a 24-year-old 2016 second-round pick. And in that case, it doesn’t make much sense to pay Daniels to return.”
Safe to say the Lions found out that Daniels didn’t have much left in the tank for 2020 near the tail end of 2019. The injuries proved too significant for him to overcome in the end, and that’s something which is likely to prevent him from coming back.
Mike Daniels Injuries
Daniels missed the end of the 2018 season in Green Bay with a foot injury which landed him on IR. He was attempting to work back from that this offseason when the Packers pulled the plug on Daniels and released him during training camp. The Lions snatched him up, and after an up and down start to his career in Detroit, he was hobbled by a foot injury to his other foot early in the season after a game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Daniels had to try to work himself back to health on the field. For the most part, it didn’t go well with the tackle only registering 1 sack late against the Chicago Bears as his highlight of the season.
Outside of that, Daniels was a virtual non-factor this season for the Lions when many expected he might be a difference maker for the team’s line. While it was unfortunate to see injury intervene for him again, that was the biggest concern he came to Detroit with when he signed with the team.
Mike Daniels Statistics
Daniels has been one of the most productive interior linemen in the NFL during his career, piling up 228 tackles and 30 sacks coming into this season. He’s also been a Pro Bowl level talent in the league, which has been huge and allowed him to be one of the bigger name players along any defensive line. With the Lions, Daniels did not make as huge an immediate impact with just 10 tackles and 1 sack in his tenure.
The Lions are likely to follow the advice from Bleacher Report in this instance. It would be tough to see given injury history and age Daniels being able to return to Detroit in 2020, as the team looks to make over their defensive line.