A shocking transaction came across the news ticker on Wednesday, the day that the Green Bay Packers officially reported to training camp. The Packers have released veteran defensive lineman Mike Daniels, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and confirmed moments later by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Daniels was a fourth-round pick of the Packers’ in 2012 and has been a starter for the last five seasons. He has recorded 29 sacks in 102 games (72 starts), along with 236 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
Daniels had one year remaining on a four-year contract extension he signed during the 2015 season. He was scheduled to have a salary cap hit of about $10.7 million; due to signing bonus and workout bonus money already paid, Daniels will cost the team $2.8 million in dead money this year, freeing up a bit less than $8 million in cap space. It appears that finances were a significant factor in this decision, as Garofolo reports that the Packers explored trading him this offseason.
This move comes one day after the Packers announced a new contract for defensive lineman Dean Lowry, a 2016 draft pick, who is now signed through 2022. Lowry now projects as the starter next to Kenny Clark in the Packers’ base 2-4-5 alignment.