The Pittsburgh Steelers have been busy in bolstering their defense over the ongoing free agency period, and they reportedly are on the verge of signing another such talent.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac, the Steelers are “close to a deal” with Keanu Neal.
The seventh-year safety has not had a shortage of suitors interested in signing him. The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly hosted Neal for a visit last week, but the reigning NFC champions ultimately decided not to sign the defensive back after they reached an agreement with now-former Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds on a one-year deal.
Neal is coming off of a 2022 campaign where he featured for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He took part in all 17 of their regular season contests, and he ranked ninth on the team in snaps played on defense with 581. He tallied 63 total tackles and five quarterback hits over the season.
Neal does also have experience playing as a middle linebacker in the NFL. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn called on Neal to play this position during the safety’s one-year stint in Dallas in the 2021 campaign. Neal took part in 14 regular season games while with the Cowboys, where he allowed a 97.1 passer rating when targeted mark and recorded 72 total tackles.
The one-time Pro Bowler could end up joining a Steelers linebackers group that has seen plenty of change over the past weeks. Steelers general manager Omar Khan elected to not re-sign both Devin Bush and Robert Spillane, but he instead opted to haul in Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb on free agent deals.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is quite a fan of both Roberts and Holcomb.
“It is a veteran-guys-that-are-capable plan,” Tomlin said at the 2023 NFL Annual Meeting. “E Rob, we are highly familiar with since he came out of (the University of) Houston. We were down there at his pro day and just liked his play demeanor. And that has not changed over the seven years that has been his career. So we're glad to add him into the fold.
“And Holcomb is an athletic guy. He can run. He can do a lot of things.”
Overall, the Steelers have so far signed three defensive players in free agency, including Patrick Peterson.