Ex-Packers Pro Bowler Expected to Sign With Bengals: Report

Mike Daniels Cincy

Getty Mike Daniels #76 of the Green Bay Packers rushes against Pat Elflein #65 (L) and Brett Jones #61 of the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on September 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings and the Packers tied 29-29 after overtime.

Free-agent defensive tackle Mike Daniels visited with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and took a physical that, if passed, is expected to lead to his signing, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Daniels, 31, was a fourth-round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and became a stalwart for their defense over the next several season until his unceremonious release last July. He signed with the Detroit Lions for the 2019 season, but multiple injuries throughout the year limited him to just nine total appearances.

The opportunity for a fresh start in Cincinnati could be exactly Daniels needs to reinvigorate his career after he finished each of the past two seasons on injured reserve. He is only three seasons removed from the only Pro Bowl selection of his career and could help elevate the Bengals defensive fronts to one of the best in the AFC, should he actually sign.

Daniels Was Open to Packers Return

Some fans have wondered throughout the offseason whether the Packers brass would be interested in re-signing Daniels for the right price, given how they struggled against the run last year and were unable to provide Kenny Clark with adequate support along the defensive line. Daniels has certainly made it clear he would be open to a possible comeback in Green Bay.

“I am very excited at the possibility and opportunity of coming back if that were indeed a thing,” Daniels said during a May appearance on ESPN Milwaukee’s “Wilde and Tausch” radio show. “Green Bay is home. It’s one of my homes. New Jersey, Iowa, Green Bay, Wisconsin. To be able to return where I started my NFL career and now I’m way more mature, I guess you would say, polished, learned a lot this past season. Yeah, man, I feel like I just have so much more to offer than I did in the seven years that I was there.

“That would really be an awesome thing.”

The problem is the manner in which the Packers dispatched him. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, they had been exploring trade possibility with Daniels for some time prior to his release last summer and cut him as a cost-saving measure only after they were unable to get a deal done. He was due about $8.1 million from the Packers in 2019, had he been retained.

Sure, on the financial side, Daniels could be an appealing, well-known option if he was willing to come back on a friendly deal, but that still might not be enough to tempt the Packers. If he didn’t fit into the vision last year, there’s a good chance he still doesn’t fit for 2020.

Daniels Would Help Mend Bengals Defensive Front

If all goes well and Daniels signs with Cincinnati, the Bengals will be installing a veteran known for his run-stopping ability into a defensive line that, one season ago, was among the worst in the league against the ground game.

The move would make sense in light of the Bengals’ recent hits at the position. They were forced to waive 2017 fourth-rounder Ryan Glasgow after a failed physical designation back in July and then, less than a week later, saw Josh Tupou opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, Daniels would provide experienced depth behind Geno Atkins and D.J. Reader that could steady the frontlines.

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