Seahawks Withdraw Ryan Neal’s RFA Tender

Before they signed Julian Love, the Seahawks extended a restricted free agent tender to Ryan Neal. With Love now forming a trio with safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, the Seahawks are moving on from Neal.

Seattle rescinded Neal’s RFA tender Friday afternoon, according to’s Field Yates (on Twitter). This will make Neal an unrestricted free agent. The four-year Seahawk is coming off a season in which he started a career-high 10 games.

Neal will almost certainly generate immediate interest on the open market. Pro Football Focus graded his 2022 work quite well, slotting the 6-foot-3 cover man as the No. 4 overall safety last season. Neal, 27, made 66 tackles (four for loss), deflected eight passes an intercepted another during a season in which the Seahawks played 16 games without Adams. PFF graded Neal as the No. 3 overall safety in coverage last season, which represented by far his most favorable marks from the advanced metrics site.

The Seahawks gave Neal the low-end tender, which cost them $2.63MM. The team will pick up that cap space but part with Neal, who could be a candidate to land elsewhere as a starter. The transaction will bump Seattle’s cap space past $8MM. A Southern Illinois alum, Neal started 19 games with the Seahawks from 2020-22. With the new money, the Seahawks should be expected to look into more D-line additions, Brady Henderson of tweets.

During the parties’ in-season negotiations, the Giants offered Love more money than he ultimately received from the Seahawks, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (subscription required). But the breakout starter passed and ended up with Seattle on a two-year, $12MM deal. Love agreed to terms with the Seahawks three days after they tendered Neal as an RFA.

With Love in the fold, Henderson notes the Seahawks are planning to use Adams more at the line of scrimmage. The former Jets All-Pro will work as a pseudo-linebacker more often, per Henderson, opening the door for Adams, Diggs and Love to see the field together. Box work has generally been best for the aggressive defender, who makes his living in that capacity rather than as a pure coverage player. Adams set a safety record with 9.5 sacks in 2020 but did not register any in 2021.

Even with this tender off the books, the Seahawks are set to allocate an NFL-leading $41MM at the safety position. They will count on Adams, who has missed extensive time due to injuries over the past two seasons, staying healthy to justify the cost. It will be interesting to see where Neal lands.

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