McDaniel will likely replace the role of Alan Branch, who was an effective, if unspectacular, run stuffer last season. Branch is a free agent and this signing makes it highly unlikely that he will return to Seattle in 2013. While I would agree that Branch may be a better player over McDaniel, you also have to take into consideration that Branch made $4 million last season and the signing of McDaniel is expected to be less than Branch would have commanded. McDaniel is a 28 year old who has only started five games in an eight year career. He has played in 79 games and registered 8.5 sacks during that span.
While this may not be an overly exciting acquisition like Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril or Michael Bennett, it is still important. McDaniel is likely to be a “dirty work” type of player who will do his job without fanfare, like Brandon Mebane, so others can do theirs well. While the Seahawks do not have a first-round draft pick next month, you can bet they are keeping a special eye on defensive tackle. If they do use a second or third-round pick on a defensive tackle, this is a position that usually takes a year of developing before a real impact can be made. The signing of McDaniel buys them some time to develop a youngster should the team decide to invest a high draft pick on that position.