The Broncos released Daniels on Tuesday, Mike Klis of the 9 News Denver reports. After Gary Kubiak was hired as the Broncos' head coach last year, Daniels hooked up with his former boss in Denver and proceeded to put together a modest campaign, gathering in 46 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season. Once the AFC championship game rolled around, though, Daniels made his greatest impact for the Mile-High residents, as he teamed up with Peyton Manning to post two first-half touchdowns in an eventual two-point victory versus the Patriots. While he has a Super Bowl title under his belt, Daniels demonstrated that he still has something left in the tank and should draw some interest on the open market.
Daniels caught 46 of 77 targets for 517 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. He followed up with five catches off of eight targets for 61 yards and Denver's only two receiving touchdowns in the playoffs. Daniels ranked third in every major receiving category for Denver, but it wasn't as though Denver didn't try to cut into his targets. The team invested a third-round pick in Jeff Heuerman before the season only to see him go down with a knee injury in the offseason. They then traded for Vernon Davis, who failed to deliver on his early promise. That left Daniels, a personal favorite of head coach Gary Kubiak, as Denver's top tight end. That isn't likely to change in 2016. Davis is unlikely to return, Heuerman will need to adjust to the pro game and young Virgil Green has yet to see his receiving prowess match up with his skills as a blocker. Expect Daniels to hold onto the No. 3 receiving role in Denver, especially if Brock Osweiler stays on. Daniels averaged 3.1 receptions per game in Osweiler's seven starts, as compared to 2.4 per game in Manning's 12 starts, including the playoffs.
Daniels secured one of two targets for 18 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Panthers. The veteran tight end notably came up with an impressive 18-yard reception on the game's first play before essentially becoming a non-factor the rest of the way. The 33-year-old put together a solid season in his first Denver campaign, especially considering that he played with a physically compromised Peyton Manning and inexperienced Brock Osweiler. Daniels came close to duplicating his 2014 numbers in Baltimore, tallying 46 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns. Under the Broncos' control for two more seasons, Daniels will likely be brought back in 2016 as an effective veteran insurance policy at tight end.
Daniels scored touchdowns of 21 and 12 yards on his only two catches during Sunday's win over the Patriots in the AFC championship game. The veteran was targeted just three times on the day, but he certainly got his money's worth, scoring both of the Broncos' touchdowns in a two-point win. Daniels doesn't always see his share of targets, but Peyton Manning has proven willing to look his way in and around the red zone, as was the case Sunday. As such, Daniels' should maintain his touchdown-dependent role when the Super Bowl rolls around in two weeks.
Daniels caught his lone target of Sunday's victory over the Chargers for a 15-yard gain. Daniels' production and exposure in the offense has been all over the place this season, but his single target on Sunday was a season low. Daniels has spent much of the year third in the pecking order behind outside threats Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Don't expect that to change in the playoffs. In three games against potential Division Round opponents Kansas City and Pittsburgh this season, Daniels averaged two catches per game for 16 yards.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||6.50|
|6||10/14||@San Diego Chargers||22||8.00|
|8||10/30||San Diego Chargers||22||8.00|
|10||11/13||@New Orleans Saints||33||12.38|
|12||11/27||Kansas City Chiefs||5||5.67|
|15||12/18||New England Patriots||6||6.00|
|16||12/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||5||5.67|
|3 Year Avg||65||39||432||3||26||11.08||61|