Detroit Lions: Mike Daniels signs team friendly deal with Bengals

(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions must feel that Mike Daniels’ fuel tank is empty because the defensive tackle recently signed a team-friendly deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Detroit Lions require a defensive tackle, maybe not a starter, but it’s clearly a position the organization lacks depth.  Recently, tackle John Atkins decided to opt-out of the 2020 regular season, leaving things thin in the middle of the defensive line aside from starter and offseason addition Danny Shelton.

I had been advocating for the Lions to re-sign Mike Daniels understanding he’d be willing to sign a cheap one-year deal trying to prove he can once again remain healthy.  Daniels started just a mere two games for Detroit last season and played in nine.  When you consider the lack of offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’d hoped Detroit brought in someone with some familiarity in the defensive scheme understanding it’s a depth role.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Daniels will need to remain healthy to receive his entire $2.7-million his due on his new one-year contract.  He will play behind Geno Atkins and the recently signed D.J. Reader.

More from Detroit Lions

Where do the Detroit Lions go from here?

Shelton signed a two year deal with the Lions worth $8-million.  He will be the early-down tackle for the Lions but will give way to another recently signed tackle in Nick Williams, who enjoyed a coming-out party with the Chicago Bears in 2019.

Williams is a heavily traveled tackle that finally made some noise with the Bears after stops in Kansas City and Miami after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.  Williams played 532 snaps last season, making 35 tackles and compiling six sacks and 21 total pressures.

I expect the Detroit Lions will also feature Da’Shawn Hand inside a bunch this season, but Hand does give the organization plenty of different options.  In a Matt Patricia led defense, versatility is a significant asset.  Hand can play as a run-stopping interior lineman setting up as a defensive tackle beside Shelton in the teams’ four-person front, or he can play as a ‘big-end’ when the Lions decide to use just three defensive linemen.

Those are the three interior linemen that I’m somewhat comfortable with, but there is a chance rookie tackle John Penisini emerges and works his way into the Lions defensive rotation.  The Lions also currently have Kevin Strong and Olive Sagapolu rostered.

Related Story. Lions remain thin at defensive tackle. light

Here are three names to keep an eye on in free agency if the Lions are looking to add some depth.  Tim Jernigan played with the Eagles last season, so he has ties to Detroit’s newly appointed defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.  Other capable linemen to add for some depth are Xavier Williams or maybe Ryan Glasgow.