Projecting James Daniels extension with Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears new General Manager will have plenty of big decisions to make. One of the toughest will be James Daniels. Daniels has not been an All-Pro elite talent, but he is reliable, and it would be hard to replace him. Beyond that, while the GM did not draft him, it would be nice to retain a former second-round pick and not add another hole.
Still, on the flip side, Daniels is an unrestricted free agent and is just 24 years. His age and pedigree may price him out of the Chicago Bears price range. What would be a realistic contract extension for James Daniels?
A few guards who have signed recent contracts include Justin Pugh, Halpoulivaati Vaitai, Shaq Mason, and Ereck Flowers. This gives us two extensions, and two free agency signings, so we can see the differences on the market.
While there is not a perfect stat to help us for an offensive lineman, we did gather a few numbers below. Snaps, pass block efficiency, PFF grade, and pressures allowed can at least give us a broad view of how Daniels stacks up to these recent extensions. These stats are a combination of the past four seasons for each player.
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You can see that Daniels is not the low man in any of these statistical areas. Even with most of a lost 2020, he has more snaps than Pugh and Vaitai since he was drafted.
Mason is the iron man for snaps and has the highest pass block rating, but James Daniels is right behind him. The same can be said for PFF grade. You can see that Pugh and Vaitai have allowed fewer pressures, but some of it is because they played fewer snaps.
Beyond that, Daniels is obviously a better run blocker than both because they both have much better pass protection ratings than run blocking.
So, overall Daniels is likely the second-best pass blocker, and run blocker. Mason may be the best, while Flowers is better in the run, and Pugh and Vaitai are better in pass protection.
The fact that Daniels is consistent across the board compared to these names and is just 24 years old makes it appears as though Chicago has to keep him.
How much should Chicago Bears offer James Daniels?
Ereck Flowers signed a three-year, $30 million deal, but the others signed very similar deals. All three were five years. Mason and Vaitai were at $45M, while Pugh was at $44.5. The big difference was the guarantees.
Mason saw $23.5M, Vaitai got $20M, Flowers got $19.5M and lastly was Pugh at $15.75M. If anything, this could be where Daniels would want to hold out for money, but the deal seems to be set in place based on these past performers.
The Chicago Bears could be looking at 5-years, $48M, with $24M in guarantees based on his age, the salary cap going up, and previous contracts. Would you be willing to give that extension to James Daniels?