The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to shore up the defense under new head coach Todd Bowles during his first year at the reins. On Wednesday, the Bucs managed to add a solid contributor to the secondary in a move that will provide both depth and experience. According to Ian Rapoport, former Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons defender Keanu Neal is heading to the Buccaneers on a one-year deal.
The #Bucs are adding another premium defender, signing former #Cowboys S Keanu Neal, source said. After moving to LB in #Cowboys DC Dan Quinn’s system, Neal is back at safety and now with new coach Todd Bowles in Tampa with a deal done by @SPORTSTARSNYC.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 6, 2022
After spending the 2021 season in Dallas playing as a linebacker within DC Dan Quinn’s scheme, Bowles will bring Neal back to his natural position at safety for the 2022 campaign.
Neal featured in 14 games for the Cowboys last year, starting 5. He recorded 72 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 QB hits, and 4 tackles for loss during his time with the team. It was the first time he’d played linebacker in his career, and it seems Bowles would prefer for him to come back to his roots in the secondary.
Prior to his one-year stint in Dallas, Neal had manned the free safety position for the Falcons for five years. During that span, he made one Pro Bowl and recorded 2 interceptions, 338 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 16 pass breakups across 49 games.
This is the Buccaneers’ second addition at the safety position this offseason, having already signed FS Logan Ryan earlier in free agency. Neal figures to serve as more of a depth piece but should still stand to see decent playing time in Tampa Bay this season.