The Denver Broncos have a solid defensive line already. How much better could their defense be with Mike Daniels in the middle of it?
The Denver Broncos are in the thick of training camp while other teams are just now getting started. The Broncos got to start early because they play in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH on August 1.
Although the Broncos have pretty much set their roster at this point, they are not above upgrading at just about any position, including up front on the defensive line.
With the sudden and shocking news that veteran defensive tackle Mike Daniels would be released by the Green Bay Packers, could the Broncos be a team that looks to pounce and bring him in?
Let’s look at the reasons why or why not.
Does Daniels’ play warrant the cost to bring him in?
Daniels is a rare pass rusher as an interior defensive lineman who has proven his effectiveness over a large body of work.
You’ll notice that none of the players on that list play for the Broncos currently. Imagine having a player who gets pressure from an interior position at that kind of rate in combination with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
So what is the cost? And what kind of cap space do the Broncos have?
Previously, Daniels was making about $10 million per year. He signed a four-year, $41 million deal with the Packers in 2015.
He just turned 30 this offseason, so there’s really no reason to think he’s going to take less than $10 million per season on average and we could see him sign a similar deal to what Malik Jackson signed in Philadelphia this offseason (3 years, $30 million).
For the Broncos to sign him, they would also probably have to structure the deal very similar to the way the Eagles did Jackson’s, because the Broncos have just about $4 million in cap space.
They can open up some more cap space if they want/need to. There are always ways around that. But the team would need to find a way to get Daniels on a very low year one cap hit.
The Eagles got Jackson on a $2.8 million year one cap hit even though he signed a three-year, $30 million contract. It’s not the ideal format of a contract with voided years, but the Eagles only paid $17 million in guarantees for a premiere interior player.
The Broncos would be wise to try and do that as well if they are truly serious about Joe Flacco making them a contender.
Does Daniels make sense for Denver’s defense?
Schematically, Daniels is a fit for whatever type of defense you’re running.
As a matter of fact, if your defense isn’t a good fit for Mike Daniels, you probably need a new defensive coordinator.
The Broncos have one of the best in the NFL in Vic Fangio and they also have one of the best defensive line coaches in the game in Bill Kollar.
They do not have a desperate need on the defensive line, but I would contend that bringing in Daniels could solve a problem a year early.
The Broncos probably won’t be able to bring in a player like Daniels next offseason, when they also have to deal with the expiring contracts of Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, and Shelby Harris.
Daniels could, at the very least, split reps with Harris at nose tackle and could allow Harris to split some reps with Gotsis at RDE.
The Broncos drafted Dre’Mont Jones who would still be able to get some reps at DT, but one of Zach Kerr or DeMarcus Walker would probably be in jeopardy of being traded or released.
Ultimately, the deal here is that you would be signing a tremendous player to your defense who would make everyone better around him. The motivation to do so is obvious — the Broncos are pitching themselves as contenders with Flacco at quarterback. Daniels is a player that enhances your ability to contend.
For the same reasons I feel John Elway should have at least called on Gerald McCoy, I feel they should take a serious look at Mike Daniels.