This is very similar to the deal that the Buccaneers gave Clinton McDonald. Like McDonald, Tony McDaniel was a little thought of defensive tackle before this season, playing 590 snaps in 2011 and 2012 combined, but broke out this season with the Seahawks (though McDaniel came from Miami, while McDonald moved up Seattle’s depth chart). McDaniel is a couple of years older, but I actually like this deal better than McDonald’s for 4 reasons.
The first is that it’s less money. While McDonald got 12 million over 4 years with 4.75 million guaranteed, McDaniel got 5.75 million over 2 years with just the 1.25 million dollar signing bonus guaranteed. That’s less money per year, fewer years, and less guaranteed money, which offsets the minor age factor (they’re both under 30 anyway). The second is that McDaniel stays in Seattle, while McDonald goes to Tampa Bay. There’s no guarantee that McDonald will be as good outside of Seattle’s system. We don’t have to find out with McDaniel.
Three, McDaniel was actually the better of the two players last season. They’re different players, as McDonald is a sub package player who specializes in getting to the quarterback, while McDaniel is a base player who specializes in stuffing the run. However, McDaniel was Pro Football Focus’ 15th ranked defensive tackle (including 4th against the run), while McDonald was Pro Football Focus’ 27th ranked defensive tackle (including 16th as a pass rusher).
The final reason is that McDaniel has more of a history of success than McDonald. Neither has much, but while McDonald literally came out of nowhere, playing 794 snaps from 2009-2012 after getting drafted in the 7th round in 2009 and getting cut as a final cut, McDaniel had some decent years as a reserve in Miami. For instance, in 2010 he was Pro Football Focus’ 11th ranked 3-4 defensive end on 426 snaps. Both deals were good deals, but all in all, I like McDaniel’s deal better. This was a great signing for a Seattle team that needed to keep McDaniel after losing McDonald.