The Arizona Cardinals seem to have their starting defensive line in place.
Corey Peters has been a stout run-defender throughout his time with the Cardinals and will remain as their starting nose tackle. Free-agent acquisition Darius Philon has improved every season with the Chargers and is in line for a breakout season for the Cardinals. Rodney Gunter is coming off the best season of his career, setting a career-high in sacks (4.5).
Even then, the Cardinals could use more depth along the defensive line.
In Mike Daniels’ seven-year career with the Packers, he has made 225 tackles, 29 sacks, one interception, and forced two fumbles. He was released by the Packers after the team signed Daniels’ replacement Dean Lowry to a three-year extension. Despite having an underwhelming 2018 season, Daniels continues to put consistent pressure on the quarterback and remains as one of the better all-around defenders the NFL has to offer.
The Cardinals could use a veteran like him to mentor and coach up some of the rookies they added through the draft. Zach Allen was drafted in the third round and Michael Dogbe in the seventh round. Both are expected to be key contributors to the defensive line rotation but with Daniels’ guidance would put them all in the fast track to success.
Former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche was placed on PUP and is expected to miss the first six games of the regular season. He has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career and was pulled over twice by the police a few weeks ago. He has not been a reliable player throughout his career and his off-field concerns are not helping. Sterling Bailey has bounced around the league since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent but has yet to play in a regular season game.
Being only 30 years old, Daniels still has plenty left in the tank. There are concerns that he isn’t fully recovered from his foot injury but his football resume is enough for the Cardinals to at least consider exploring.
This team is clearly trying to get younger but Steve Keim has actively been exploring the free agency and waiver wire to improve the Cardinals. To add the former Pro Bowler to the roster would significantly improve and solidify their defensive front.
Whether Daniels would sign with the rebuilding Cardinals is uncertain and it is possible he is looking to sign with a contender.
Expect Mike Daniels to be signed sooner rather than later, assuming his health checks out. It will be interesting to see where he lands in the coming days or weeks.