Mike Daniels and the Green Bay Packers reportedly broke off contract discussions in late August, but the two sides put their differences aside and agreed to an extension that will keep the defensive stalwart in Wisconsin for years to come.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Daniels and the Packers agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $42 million, including $22 million in the first 15 months with a $12 million signing bonus. Schefter noted Daniels will now be the third-highest-paid 3-4 defensive end.
The Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn reported back in August that Daniels was seeking a contract that would pay him "in the neighborhood" of $10 million annually.
The new deal is a major step up for Daniels, who's earning a shade over $1.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract, per Spotrac.
Daniels wanted to stay in Green Bay, according to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Press-Gazette:
My agent called me, gave me the lay, and had to agree with him. I told him I wanted to be in Green Bay. I want to be with this team. This team is in it every year. It's a great, historic franchise. We had quite a few vets from other teams, free agents, my rookie year, and all they kept saying to us rookies were, 'Wow, you guys you don't understand how fortunate you are to start your careers off in Green Bay.' Why would I want to go anywhere else? So my agent, I told him 'Make sure we're still in Green Bay,' and he did.
Following a solid 2014 campaign that saw Daniels total 5.5 sacks and a career-high 30 tackles, he solidified his place as one of the team's key front-seven components.
"He's such a great leader in that defensive line group," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said in August, according to McGinn. "He'll give you everything you want in terms of leadership, work ethic, all those kinds of things."
While it took Daniels some time to gain his footing at the professional level after getting drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, he steadily improved following his rookie season.
|Mike Daniels' Production by Season|
|Season||Games Started||Sacks||Tackles||Fumble Recoveries||TD|
And although his numbers have never been staggering, Daniels' tactical excellence thrust him into esteemed territory throughout 2014.
According to Pro Football Focus, he graded out as one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in football—excelling as both a pass-rusher and run-stuffer:
|Mike Daniels' Place Among 3-4 DEs (2014 Season)|
|Overall Grade (Rank)||Pass-Rushing Grade (Rank)||Run-Defense Grade (Rank)|
|18.8 (8)||10.8 (8)||9.4 (10)|
|Source: Pro Football Focus|
Through 13 games in 2015, he has accumulated 41 combined tackles with four sacks and one forced fumble.
As the past couple of seasons have proved, Daniels is an ascendant talent capable of anchoring the Packers defensive line for years to come. And with a new contract in tow that signifies the team's appreciation of his offerings up front, Daniels can now relax and focus on tormenting opposing offensive lines while donning green and yellow.