NEW ORLEANS I have no doubt journeyman backup Chase Daniel wants to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League.
In fact, I’m sure the undrafted former Missouri standout believes he’s as good as, if not better than, many of the current starters.
That said, it made perfect sense that he recently requested his release from the Philadelphia Eagles after they signed free agent quarterback Nick Foles to back up starter Carson Wentz, presumably paving the way for Daniel to pursue his objective.
So why sign a one-year, $900,000 contract to rejoin the New Orleans Saints and likely play backup to Iron Man Drew Brees, who rarely leaves the playing field and has missed only one start due to injury in 11 seasons with the Black and Gold?
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Does Daniel know something we don’t?
Yes, Brees is entering the final year of his contract, but he wants to play well beyond 2017 and I don’t envision him playing for another team before he hangs it up.
Where does that leave Daniel, now 30 and approaching his ninth NFL season with little to show on a barebones resumé? In eight seasons with New Orleans (2009-’12), Kansas City (2013-’15) and Philadelphia (2016), Daniel can lay claim to one Super Bowl XLIV ring with the Saints in 2009 and two starts with the Chiefs.
His career totals — 51 of 78 for 480 yards, with one TD, one INT and seven sacks — could almost pass for one of Brees’ outings.
OK, maybe that’s a stretch but you get my drift.
Certainly, Daniel and Saints officials view this deal as a win-win situation. Coach Sean Payton gets a quality quarterback who’s all too familiar with the offense and Daniel finds a comfortable landing spot as he goes about competing against 35-year-old Luke McCown and 2015 third-round draft pick Garrett Grayson.
As far as Daniel becoming Brees’ successor, I don’t see it.
Though barely 6 feet, Brees has stood tall in the pocket for 16 NFL seasons. Daniel is a similar height but plays much smaller.
And yet Daniel continues to earn a great living as a career backup. Consider: In addition to the $900,000 base salary he will make in New Orleans this season, provided he makes the team, he is assured of $4.1 million more from the Eagles as part of a three-year, $21 million contract from March 2016.
By my count, Daniel has pocketed more than $16 million in base salary and bonus money since that first year in New Orleans when he bounced up and down from the practice squad to the active roster, eventually earning a Super Bowl ring as an emergency quarterback.
That number stands to go up as Daniel continues to pursue his dream, whether in New Orleans or elsewhere.
Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.