The Bucs are not done adding to their secondary this offseason. The latest addition is former Falcons safety and Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal to a one-year deal. The Bucs announced the signing on Wednesday.

After five seasons in Atlanta, Neal played for Dallas last season, following former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to the Cowboys. While with the Falcons, the former first-round pick in 2016 played safety. He had a pair of 100-tackles seasons to start his career in Atlanta and made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Neal missed nearly all of 2018 and 2019 seasons due to injuries, but rebounded with a 100-tackle campaign in 2020.

Yet, Dallas used him in a linebacker role in 2021. In 14 games for the Cowboys, Neal started five and racked up 72 tackles.

After losing Jordan Whitehead in free agency, Tampa Bay brought in Logan Ryan after he was cut from the Giants. Ryan is projected to play more of a hybrid free safety, nickel cornerback role in the Bucs defense. So there was still a need to find a true replacement for Whitehead at strong safety.

Safety has been a hot projection for the Bucs in the first round, including Georgis’s Lewis Cine in Pewter Report’s latest Bucs 7-round mock draft. But with the addition of Neal it allows the Bucs to wait on the position. Ryan, Neal and Mike Edwards are all scheduled to be free agents in 2023.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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fredster
fredster
2 months ago

Nice! Licht is still making some good moves pre draft.

Last edited 2 months ago by fredster
fanofdabucs
fanofdabucs
2 months ago

Very solid signing that will go under the radar. Solid safety who, if he can avoid injury, will contribute.
Think the Bucs go CB or DT in round one.

TBChucky
TBChucky
2 months ago

Three 100 tackle seasons from Safety position. I like it. He just needs to stay healthy!

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
2 months ago

Great value as the Bucs are going to use a rotation at the SS spot from my estimation with Edwards, Neal and Ryan.
Sure the Bucs could draft a safety but I am not feeling it based on what the team has historically done. More likely Bucs target DT, OG, DE, or CB in round 1 IMO.

buccaneerNW
buccaneerNW
2 months ago

This should not impact our decision on drafting a SS all that much. Still need one.

nybucfan
nybucfan
2 months ago

Should have used the money for the Honey Badger!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  nybucfan
2 months ago

While the Honey badger does sound nice, it’s not going to happen from a money standpoint. This deal is so good because it gives you a pretty good player with upside and it’s only costing the Bucs like a little over 1 million dollars this year. Can’t beat that value.

cozart
cozart
2 months ago

Solid, solid pick up. Neal will fill Whitehead’s role and maybe more. Remember this dude was ascending to superstar status prior to losing nearly two seasons to injury. And the came back pretty solid with Dallas, why they tried to move him to LB is their bad.
Not saying we don’t add any more to this back field but with Ryan at nickel and Neal at SS, I think our secondary can be much improved.

The Freeman
The Freeman
2 months ago

one of the young FA still available who’s worth a prove it deal… i want him since two years to take the Deone Bucannon role (hybrid SS/moneybacker)!

Spitfire
Spitfire
2 months ago

It sounds like they washed him back into playing time last year but 72 cokes for only starting 5 is decent. I feel like I remember him being solid in Atlanta when we played them. If he came back last year healthy then hopefully he is at 100% now and he gets back to lighting things up at SS. This could be a super helpful pickup if it works out. Davis, Dean, Winfield Jr, Edwards, Ryan and Neal makes for a pretty solid backfield depth. I think the Bucs go Guard or CB 1st round unless a solid DT falls… Read more »

theman101
theman101
2 months ago

With them picking up Neal, I would expect a CB, DT or WR all but assured in round 1

Bucs828
Bucs828
Reply to  theman101
2 months ago

I think they go DL first but wouldn’t be surprised if they get a stud OG to keep Brady healthy. Hopefully they get a leftover tackle in FA that ends JWells stint in Tampa.

Benjamin
Benjamin
2 months ago

This is a good signing. Neal will probably be the starting Strong Safety next year if he’s healthy. I believe he is a better overall player than Mike Edward’s. He’s certainly produced more when he has played safety. Edward’s to me is a boom or bust playmaker and he will still have a valuable role on defense. During the Pewter Report podcast today you guysbtalked about how Winfield could not be resigned when his contract comes up and I just wanted to say if the Bucs brass allows him to walk that’d be an extremely bad and sad decision. He’s… Read more »