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.