Bucs Sign Safety/Linebacker Keanu Neal

April 6th, 2022

Former Gators great in the house.

Another big name is in The Licht House!

This time it’s a young, former first-round pick, a former Pro Bowler.

Per NFL Network, Keanu Neal is now a member of our beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The No. 17 overall pick of the Falcons in 2017 made the Pro Bowl as a rookie safety. After injuries in Atlanta, Neal followed Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn last season to Dallas where he moved to linebacker and didn’t have much of a season but did play 14 games.

Now he’s in Tampa.

He’s 26 years old and Joe’s very confident it’s a one-year, prove-it contract. Neal will be in the now-crowded mix to replace bone-crushing Super Bowl safety Jordan Whitehead, who departed for the Jets in free agency.

Who will win the job? Logan Ryan, Neal or vaccine-faker Mike Edwards? That’s if Ryan isn’t pegged as the Bucs’ new top nickel cornerback.

Joe loves this move. It’s got Todd Bowles written all over it.

Enjoy the latest Ira Kaufman Podcast, the ultimate transition of power episode, presented by Bill Currie Ford.

72 Responses to “Bucs Sign Safety/Linebacker Keanu Neal”

  1. tampabayallday Says:

    Good depth.

  2. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Oh baby! A former Gator now a Buc! Nice!! Wonder if he’ll be a money backer. Very versatile guy IIRC. Very nice signing

  3. JGhotier Says:

    I’m down

  4. sasquatch Says:

    Big potential upside to this move. If he’s still got it, he might alleviate the need to draft SS… although the move to LB may mean he’s gotten too big and lost some movement skills.

    Joe Says;
    “Neal will be in the now-crowded mix to replace bone-crushing Super Bowl safety Jordan Whitehead”

    I would say it’s absolutely NOT a crowded mix at all. We have exactly ZERO candidates to be an in the box, run support type SS… Neal is alone in the competition. If he can still play, he’ll start and play on running downs.

  5. SB~LV Says:

    2 knees
    1 Achilles
    Talented player

  6. Bird Says:

    That guy was a one man wrecking crew before his injuries.

    No question he will play strong safety
    In the box

    Hope he is “almost “ fully recovered.

    Yah put ryan at slot
    Smb 4th db off bench

    I like it a lot

  7. gotbbucs Says:

    Well, he came to the right place if he wants to have a chance at becoming a good box safety again.

  8. Jmarkbuc Says:

    He was great in ATL.

    If he is healed up could be a great signing. Big hitter.

  9. Pewter Power Says:

    Ryan is slow and small don’t expect him to play free safety or strong he’ll be the slot corner for sure

  10. Buc92’ Says:

    Ryan in the slot , Neal the in box strong safety, winfield jr the free … Neal is a big hitter like whitehead good deal


  11. Jp09 Says:

    Vaccine faker, what a f’n joke. You bash Edwards for making his own decision on what he should or shouldn’t put in his body, yet you (whoa! it got real nasty there. Edwards pretended he got a vaccine. That’s fact. It’s in his history. It might be a factor in the front office decisions we’ve see of signing Neal and Ryan. Joe is not making a statement about Edwards’ personal decision. That’s fine with Joe. Lying to the team and getting suspended was/is not fine. Dozens of players around the league skipped the shot. Not sure why you’re so angry.–Joe

  12. Jeffbuc Says:

    He might have some extra juice playing for an nfl team he probably grew up watching. Since his hometown is only an hour and 15 minutes from Ray J


    This is a VERY cool signing. I really like it… and like Keanu Neal’s game.

    I am an FSU Seminoles (and USF) fan…. but just also happen to love it when we bring Gators & ‘Canes to the BUCS.

    Welcome back to FL, Keanu!

  14. David Says:

    LOVE THIS MOVE!! For a couple reasons.

    1- we saw how much depth is needed in the DB room last year with injury after injury in a passing league.
    2- Ryan is pretty good at coverage. Neal played more like Whitehead. Thumper.
    3- Now they have 4 safeties, 2 of them Edward/Ryan, can definitely play slot.

    Neil does have to stay healthy. He was pretty good with the Falcons and then had some injury issues. I don’t know what he did with the Cowboys all we heard about was Parsons.

  15. David Says:

    Between Mike Edwards and Ryan Ability to play safety and cover the slot and now Neal’s Ability to play safety and down low for run support, the they have some versatility at Safety to go along with Davis, Dean has starting CBs. SMB is going to need to step it up and I expect Delaney to have some improvement as well.
    I still think they draft a DB in the top 3 rounds Simply because the draft is deep with them.

    Although… Along with DL, this could free them up to take a RB & WR in the top 3 rounds.

    Can’t wait for Gronk & SUH and the draft!!

  16. Goatfarmer Says:

    The goats of the world are very pleased.

  17. Buczilla Says:

    Outside of Winfield, everyone is replaceable in our secondary, so the more ammo the better.

  18. LOL Says:

    Love this move for added depth. He was a really good player in ATL

  19. Infomeplease Says:

    Don’t know much about him, that said, if he was a safety playing linebacker for the Cowboys he must be a hard hitter and good tackler! Sounds like a replacement for Whitehead!!

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    As I recall this guy is a real thumper…….who can really argue with this move…..but I will say……we’ve still got Suh & Gronk needing bigger dollars…

    These smaller money signings are necessary but they surely chip away at our cap flexibility.

  21. Alstott up the gut Says:

    Add me to thinking this is a solid move with plenty of upside. I agree with the consensus that Ryan may be slotted for Nickel, as long as he knew that was a serious option when he signed. Love Edwards in that depth role. The question becomes where does SMB fit in? If all works according to plans he should see a reduced role I believe. All these moves make me think more and more our first draft pick is DLine.

  22. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    What a clever pickup. Love the vets we’ve added on defense. Kept hearing how communication was an issue in the secondary last couple years. Maybe that’s why Whitehead is gone and these new guys are here. Now just get some pass rush!

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We really need the depth…..if SMB, Davis, Dean, Edwards or Winfield go down…..Ryan & Neal will be very important pieces to our secondary…..

  24. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    There’s no use predicting where he’ll play now; Todd Bowles is a mad scientist on how he rearranges he talent. What’s nice is Neal could be in on 3rd and 5, and the opposing won’t know if we’re in a nickel or 3-4 since he plays both LB and secondary.

  25. Knight33513 Says:

    Knowing that this kid went to high school at my alma mater makes it even better, but, he is definitely one hell of a pick up. Smart, always knows where the ball is, and hits like a Lynch/David hybrid. As long as he can stay healthy, he will be fine.
    And, it’s great to know that there is a South Sumter Raider playing for the Bucs!!!!

  26. TBChucky Says:

    I like it! Adds depth with starting potential, as well as versatility.

  27. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    Nice chess piece for our defense…

  28. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    We should have taken him instead of Hargreaves that year anyy

  29. BuxfaninTX Says:

    Heavy hitter.. ask Mike Evans

  30. TDTB2022 Says:

    We definitely fix what went wrong in the Rams game with the acquisitions in free agency. We are not done yet. But we are looking good.

    We need the Real #93 back. Also, Licht needs to hit it out of the park again with drafting a guard.


  31. Jordan Says:

    Probably more likely a backup linebacker than a backup safety, maybe an absolute emergency safety.

    Nice signing if so cause he can definitely hit, I remember being freaked out one time after he hit Mike Evans on the sideline.

  32. sasquatch Says:

    Before everyone gets out the lube and jerk-sock, there’s a reason he sat in free agency this long. My guess is he doesn’t have the wheels anymore. Why would he move to LB if he could still move like a safety? Answer: probably because he can’t move like a safety anymore. So now he wants to move back to safety and we’re the first team to offer him the opportunity? I hope I’m wrong, but there’s reason to be skeptical. We still need to draft a SS.

  33. sasquatch Says:

    Still a smart, no-risk, potentially big upside move by the front office. Kudos.

  34. Allbuccedup Says:

    Another great move!

  35. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Ryan & Davis corners Kneal & Winfield safeties.

  36. BillyBucco Says:

    Seems to me to be a move because he realized a weapon for Brady in this draft,
    Is more important than a safety that might/might not produce.

    Whatever round they were looking at a safety can now be DL, CB, etc.

    Almost positive if they are serious about a certain WR they would have to move up.

    Maybe now they bundle that 2nd or 3rd to do just that.

  37. Buc4evr Says:

    If he is over his injury issues this is a real sleeper signing. Neal was a hard hitter for the Gators and I would not be surprised if he starts on opening day.

  38. Casual Observer Says:

    This looks like a great signing!

  39. Bangkok Buc Says:

    Adds depth and additional flexibility back there which is fantastic. Great pickup

  40. DaBux Says:

    Good signing. With someone who has a lot to prove.

  41. Brandon Says:

    I effing love Edwards because he faked the vaccine. Good for him. What a travesty that healthy and fit professional athletes would be strong armed into taking an experimental drug for a virus that they would have had no problem beating with or without an unproven vaccine.

  42. alvinscissorsharper Says:

    It can’t hurt. When he was healthy, he was a heat seeking missile. But, he’s been very injury prone.

  43. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Statements from Bowles and others in recent weeks makes it clear that Edwards and Winfield are free safeties and Logan is a nickel/slot cornerback. Neal is going to be used as a strong safety to replace Whitehead. The mix is definitely not crowded by any means. In fact, they could really use another SS to back up Neal at this point. Maybe in the draft…?

  44. Buccinutz15 Says:

    Very solid signing to add some versatility to Bowles defense. It’s what they tried to do with former Cardinal “Moneybacker” Deone Buchanan. I’m fine with him on 1st and 2nd down and special teams. At 26, he’s still a young guy. Hopefully the injuries are behind him.

  45. K2 Says:

    “the Assassin”…Mr. Wick?

  46. sasquatch Says:

    Brandon Says:
    April 6th, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    I effing love Edwards because he faked the vaccine. Good for him. What a travesty that healthy and fit professional athletes would be strong armed into taking an experimental drug for a virus that they would have had no problem beating with or without an unproven vaccine.

    Oh shutup. #DisinformationClown

  47. sasquatch Says:

    Brandon Says:
    April 6th, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    I effing love Edwards because he faked the vaccine. Good for him. What a travesty that healthy and fit professional athletes would be strong armed into taking an experimental drug for a virus that they would have had no problem beating with or without an unproven vaccine.

    dumb da dumb dumb dumb dumb da dumb dumb

  48. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Camp Meat!

  49. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Hopefully sign Ronnie Harrison

  50. MadMax Says:

    I remember liking him in the draft….solid signing.

    Keep working Mr. Licht

  51. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “vaccine-faker Mike Edwards”

    Well there are vaccine fakers and vaccine fakers…one in Germany did us a favor interms of pointing out the frightening nature of getting a shot.

    He got NINETY shots so he could get fake ID’s and sell them to folks in Germany like AB and Edwards I suppose.

    NINETY freaking shots!!! He still feels fine. Now one case does not a study make but man…NINETY SHOTS?

  52. MadMax Says:

    Hhahaha, come on LUV

  53. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Lol whats good brotha?

  54. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ronnie Harrison 24yrs old (Free Agent)

    He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the Scouting Combine (where he also showed off a 40-inch vertical jump)

    Plus the kid’s a thumper. Give’m a shot!

  55. MadMax Says:

    Yo! You know me my Brotha, that time of year….Im gonna check your guy out.

  56. MadMax Says:

    Can you believe the spot we’re in LUV? So many down years and here we are now…and the GOAT came back to us! How many drafts have we filtered through over the years lol, they should hire us!

  57. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Joe loves this move. It’s got Todd Bowles written all over it.’

    Looks to be a great move. Can’t see Logan Ryan playing much (if any) safety this year (nickel or dime will be his forte me thinks). I can see Keanu Neal back at safety though (Dallas’ experiment putting him at LB probably wasn’t all that wise in retrospect). Neal’s nice size for a safety (6′ & 211 lbs) but small for a LB and not all that fast (4.62 in the 40yd at the Combine).

    Injury history concerns me somewhat. Spent almost all of 2018 on IR (played in 1 game), then again on IR in 2019 (played in 3 games that year). Stayed relatively healthy though in 2020 (not re-signed by Falcons) & 2021 (not re-signed by Cowboys). IF Neal can return to his former self, Bucs may have just struck gold. If not, it’s only a 1-year deal.

  58. BucEmUp Says:

    Someone still bringing up vaccines? Must just be upset now that they know they got played like a 🎻.

  59. Rich S Says:

    His knees and foot seen better days…..just like Sherman a waste of money…

  60. Bill Fisher Says:

    So tired of hearing criticism of people who did whatever the had to do to not take the jab. The vaccines don’t work and it’s time lepe let it go, including you Joe.

  61. Navfree17 Says:

    When Tom gets him on the TB12 Method, he’ll be just fine! 60% of the time, it works all the time.

  62. Posey99 Says:

    Good signing. I like these kind of signings, gets you excited for a comeback story

  63. Joe Says:

    The vaccines don’t work and it’s time lepe let it go, including you Joe.

    Both Joes (and Ira) have had the two jabs and the boosters. One Joe came down with The Sickness. The other Joe and Ira have been spared. And if Joe’s doctor (who Joe trusts implicitly) tells Joe to get a second booter, Joe will happily do so.

    If someone else wants to play Russian Roulette, that’s their call and none of Joe’s concern.

  64. MadMax Says:

    Im anti vac Joes, sorry….wont get into a long debate about it, but this whole time i havent worn a mask or got the jab….and so far so good, why? Ive had the flu 2 times in my life, at 24 and 26 (im 50 now), both times my employer had tents set up in the parking lot pushing the flu jab…I caught it a month later both times and said F that….havent had the flu since. But I respect people’s decisions to do what they feel is necessary for them.

  65. RPK Says:

    Great move! Keep loading up on D

  66. adam from ny Says:

    omg i absolutely love this move…

    i remember this guy terrorizing the bucs in the box in years past

  67. steele Says:

    Big, strong, versatile. Neal and Logan Ryan add grit, mean and savvy to this secondary. Exactly what’s needed.

  68. Bbro Says:

    Stay healthy Neal and have a great career in Tampa as a Buc 👍

  69. John Dixon Says:

    I am perplexed. Last year when Dallas signed Neal it was panned because his last couple of years at safety were pretty average to bad. His own coach for the previous 4 years (Dan Quinn) brought him in to be a LB because he had slowed to much and could not be a cover or even be a dedicated box safety. After one year of average LB play again under his coach for 5 years who is a pretty good defensive coach Dallas decided to not even offer him a contract. Not even a low one because he was not worth the cost. He sits this long on the market as nobody else signed him. But now that the Bucs sign him I keep reading how the Bucs added a premium defensive player and how the Bucs signed a Dallas standout. Even the Bucs steal an integral defensive player from the Cowboys. Then of course how well he should do under Bowles. Let me tell you all something. Neal is at best a rotational LB and he no longer can play safety. Pretty sure I trust Dan Quinn more than anyone else on him. Media bias is a joke.

  70. sasquatch Says:

    Expect nothing from this move, hope to be surprised. Still drafting a SS.

  71. Wild Bill Says:

    Wish the jab bs nut jobs would shut the f… up. Stick to football and take politics to a political web site. Each person can decide for themselves on the jab. Old news bs.

  72. Wild Bill Says:

    This was a low risk but high potential signing. Hope he has plenty of gas left in his tank.