The New Orleans Saints made a low-key roster transaction this week, putting defensive tackle John Hughes on injured reserve with an elbow injury and signing free agent Tony McDaniel. McDaniel spent most of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, seeing brief stops intermittently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers.
McDaniel competed for a roster spot with the Saints during their summer training camp, seeing action with the first unit while Nick Fairley and Tyeler Davison were away. Ultimately they went with younger options. He recorded four tackles, a pass deflection, and forced a fumble in the Bay Area earlier this season before being elbowed out of the rotation by younger players like DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.
I don’t expect McDaniel will be a featured player in New Orleans - he replaces Hughes, who played less than half the defensive snaps in most games this year - but he’s exactly the kind of talent you want in the building ahead of the playoffs. Hughes is easily the most-experienced voice in the defensive line room and has a Super Bowl ring from Seattle’s dominant 2013-2014 championship win over the Denver Broncos.
Then again, maybe McDaniel sees a George Johnson-esque revitalization. Like McDaniel, the Saints kept tabs on the 30-year old Johnson as a possible role fit (the Advocate’s Nick Underhill brought this strategy to light, you should check it out) and now he’s produced three sacks in two games after leaving his couch. So there’s still hope for fun things to come from the McDaniel signing.