Trading James Daniels seems like an absurd proposition to many Steelers fans, but according to the Athletic, a few top executives believe that the Steelers could very well move on from Daniels only one year into his contract with the team.
The article, which outlines what executives think of each team’s moves, states that the Steelers have had a strong free agency period, but it could come at the expense of Daniels. Scheduled to make $8.25 million this year, Daniels is an expensive, but critical player to the offensive line growth, and some executives could see the Steelers going on the cheaper side and moving Daniels. One executive wondered if they could trade James Daniels, while another loved their moves.
“It seemed like they were just plugging holes cheap so they can draft the guys they want,” one exec said, noting that the players Pittsburgh signed seemed to be one-for-one replacements for players they let go. “They have made no mistakes. They have been very safe, which is the M.O. of their franchise as a whole.”
It was first theorized two weeks ago with some of the moves that the Steelers could be looking at moving Daniels to center or the bench, but right now, neither move makes much sense. Still, the team has maintained lots of interest in the interior offensive line market in the NFL Draft, and that has kept some people on their toes.
However, let’s understand a few things about Daniels and what he brings to the table. For one, he is one of the most intelligent players on the team and what I would argue is the de facto leader of the team. No, he is no an outspoken leader like Maurkice Pouncey, but he is a silent, interpersonal leader similar to that of David DeCastro, Then, there is the simple fact that Daniels was consistently good a year ago and has been consistently above the line in his NFL career.
At this juncture, it still seems unlikely and downright puzzling why Pittsburgh would move Daniels after he was their best offensive lineman a year ago.