APRIL 6: Neal will not end up making what he would have on a Seahawks RFA tender. He signed for the veteran minimum, Greg Auman of Fox Sports tweets. The deal will come with just $108K guaranteed, but after the Bucs lost Edwards and Keanu Neal in free agency, Ryan Neal said he chose Tampa Bay for a chance to start. It appears the four-year Seahawk will have a chance to team with Antoine Winfield Jr. as the Buccaneers’ first-string safeties.
APRIL 4: Following a breakout season in Seattle, Ryan Neal is heading to Tampa Bay. The free agent safety is signing with the Buccaneers, reports Ari Meirov (via Twitter). Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed the move (on Twitter), noting that the safety is inking a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Neal, a former undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois, spent some time with the Eagles and Falcons before joining the Seahawks in 2019. He appeared in around 40 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps in 29 games between 2020 and 2021, but he took on a significantly larger role in 2022.
This past year, Neal started 10 of his 14 appearances while collecting 66 tackles and eight passes defended. He graded out as one of the league’s top safeties, with Pro Football Focus ranking him as the fourth-best player at his position. Predictably, the impending free agent was hit with an RFA tender after the season, but he was squeezed out of the starting lineup when the Seahawks added Julian Love. As a result, the organization withdrew the $2.6MM offer, making Neal an unrestricted free agent.
He’ll now help a Buccaneers secondary that lost safeties Mike Edwards and Keanu Neal and hasn’t re-signed Logan Ryan. Neal will surely fill in one of those starting spots, but Greg Auman of Fox Sports expects the organization to still pursue a safety in the draft (Twitter link).