The Green Bay Packers have long been believers in the virtues of drafting and developing players, then keeping those players they feel are part of the future around for the long term. On Monday, they continued that practice with the signing of defensive end Mike Daniels to a 4-year, $42 million extension that contains a $12 million signing bonus and $22 million in the first 15 months, a source told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

The deal makes Daniels the third-highest paid 3-4 defensive end in the NFL behind only J.J. Watt and Calais Campbell.

3-4 Defensive End Contracts (via Spotrac)
J.J. Watt $100,005,425 $51,876,000 $16,667,571
Calais Campbell $55,000,000 $31,000,000 $11,000,000
Mike Daniels $42,000,000 $22,000,000 $10,500,000

Daniels, now in his fourth season with the Packers, has shown a steady progression since entering the league as a fourth round pick out of Iowa in 2012. He began his career as a rotational backup but he has gotten better and earned more and more time with each passing season.

Mike Daniels Performance
2012 14 280 25.6% 12 2.0
2013 16 553 48.6% 23 6.5
2014 16 794 63.9% 41 5.5
2015 13 606 68.4% 41 4.0

It has come to the point where, this season, Daniels has been arguably the best player on Green Bay's defense. In addition to his 4.0 sacks, Daniels has 44 quarterback pressures on the year, per tracking done by Pro Football Focus. That's the fifth most among 3-4 defensive ends. On a per-rush basis, he's been the third best among players at that position. He also has 22 run stops, via PFF's tracking, sixth-most among 3-4 ends. In their overall grades, only Watt tops Daniels so far this season.

Daniels is 26 years old, so if he plays out the full deal, he'll stay in Green Bay through his age-30 season. Along with Aaron Rodgers and Bryan Bulaga, he is one of three players on the team signed through 2019.

Mike Daniels will be in Green Bay for a while. (USATSI)