Michigan Panthers Sign QB Danny Etling & K Jake Bates

Michigan Panthers Sign QB Danny Etling & K Jake Bates

Christmas came early for fans of the Michigan Panthers. The team has signed QB Danny Etling out of the blue, alongside kicker Jake Bates for the 2024 season.

QB Danny Etling

In a shocking twist during free agency, the Michigan Panthers have signed QB Danny Etling. This comes just days after the team re-signed E.J. Perry, only to see him head to Jacksonville hours later.

Etling is a very intriguing prospect out of LSU. His career in college was outstanding, racking up over 4,500 passing yards and 27 touchdowns across two seasons at LSU. This led to Danny garnering quite a bit of NFL interest over the past few years in the NFL.

Danny began his college career at Purdue, where he played in 13 games across two years. During that span, he threw for 2,490 yards and 16 touchdowns, but also tossed 12 interceptions.

Since then, Etling has consistently searched to find his footing in the NFL. He had a couple stints with the New England Patriots, and also the Atlanta Falcons. Etling showcased his mobility at New England, in a preseason rushing touchdown that many are familiar with:

Most recently, he was in Green Bay, spending time on the practice squad in 2022. Interestingly enough, USFL MVP Alex McGough beat him out for that spot this year, leading to Etling’s release.

Now, Danny will continue his professional career in Michigan. As it stands right now, one would expect him to be the clear favorite to start in 2024. The Panthers only roster two other quarterbacks, which include Brian Lewerke, and a questionable Carson Strong.

K Jake Bates

The Panthers signing another kicker is not what many were expecting to see, especially at this point. The team currently rosters Cole Murphy, who has consistently been one of the top kickers in the USFL.

However, Jake is primarily a kickoff specialist. In fact, he hasn’t attempted a field goal throughout most of his college career, mainly using his strong leg on kickoffs.

Jake played at Texas State from 2020-2021. In 2020, he averaged 61.6 yards per kickoff. Bates improved upon that in 2021, averaging 62.8 yards per kickoff.

Then, Jake Bates transferred to Arkansas. In 2022, he earned First-Team All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches, after averaging 64.5 yards per kickoff that year.

Now, Bates will take his talents to the UFL. It will be interesting to watch the training camp battle unfold. Cole Murphy should be the primary kicker, but one has to wonder if Bates can find a way to make himself into a valuable kickoff specialist in spring football.

Final Thoughts

General Manager Steve Kazor takes no days off. Despite the holiday season being fully upon us, Michigan has made a couple of big-time signings as of late, including:

OL Kyle Fuller
DT Daniel Wise
DE Breeland Speaks
LB Isaac Darkangelo

What are your thoughts on Danny Etling signing to the Michigan Panthers? Will Jake Bates remain on the roster for 2024? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!