The Green Bay Packers have released defensive lineman Mike Daniels.
On the surface, this hurts the team’s playoff aspirations. While he occasionally contributed to the Packers’ pass rushing success, Daniels was a key component of the run defense. Here is a split with Daniels on the field and without.
Impact of Mike Daniels Release
Daniels splits for GB defense & ⬇️ ability to stop the run when Daniels on the field are evident
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) July 24, 2019
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The numbers that really stand out are run success rate, explosive run % and yards per carry. Opponents’ run success rate with Daniels in the lineup is 44.7%, which goes up to 49.2% when he is out of the lineup. Even more concerning is the amount of explosive runs that the Packers defense allows when Daniels has been absent. An explosive run is defined as a run gaining at least 15 yards. Green Bay has allowed those types of plays only 2.4% of the time with Daniels. That amount nearly triples to 6.3% when Daniels has missed time. Furthermore, opposing offense gain nearly a full yard per carry more (4.74 to 3.97) when Daniels has been out. The release of Mike Daniels will take its toll on the run defense especially.
All About The Money
The primary reason for releasing Daniels is financial. By releasing him, the Packers save roughly $8.3 Million in cap space. The announcement that Daniels would be released came only 24 hours after they announced that they extended defensive lineman Dean Lowry.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) July 23, 2019
While the details of the extension have not yet been disclosed, the $8.3 Million saved from cutting Daniels will help smooth out the team’s salary cap. Daniels was set to play out the final year of his current deal. Seemingly, Daniels would have left in free agency. Releasing him now gives the Packers flexibility in extending not only Lowry but potentially another defensive lineman as well. Green Bay can use the 5th-year option on former 1st-round pick Kenny Clark in 2020. However, with this newly found cap space, look for the Packers to attempt to work on the extension for Clark this offseason.
Daniels was set to be a key member of the Packers defensive line rotation in 2019. Most likely, the starting three on the line in base formations would have been Clark, Daniels and Lowry. However, Green Bay does have options available. Perhaps Montravius Adams will take a step up in 2019. Furthermore, several new defensive additions to the team could play big roles on the defensive front. Free agent acquisition Za’Darius Smith, while listed as a linebacker, could see snaps on the interior. Also, two rookies Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke may become key contributors to the defense.
For Mike Daniels, there was not a lot of time spent without a job. Only 48 hours after his release, he signed with the Detroit Lions. While it is bad news to say write Packers release Mike Daniels, it is compounded by the fact that he will now be playing for a division rival.
Former Packers’ Pro-Bowl DT Mike Daniels is finalizing a deal with the Detroit Lions, source tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2019
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