Buccaneers snipe former Cowboys LB to further bolster defense

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal returns to the safety position as he joins Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. 

There’s been a lot of movement for Keanu Neal in the past year.

In 2021, the longtime Atlanta Falcons safety signed a one-year, $5 million deal that reunited him with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in Dallas. Now, Neal will be rejoining familiar faces as he moves back home to central Florida. The Bushnell, Florida native has just signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, returning to the safety position alongside Logan Ryan, who signed a new deal with the team in March.

Funnily enough, the new Buccaneers safety tandem of Ryan and Neal played against one another in Super Bowl LI, with Ryan and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots defeating Neal’s Atlanta Falcons.

Keanu Neal joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers to further bolster its defense

As the Buccaneers fortify their defense, their Super Bowl odds remain the same as a close second to the Buffalo Bills as the preferred Super Bowl LVII victor.

While Tom Brady’s retirement is the factor that sent their probability of winning it all through the roof, Bucs general manager Jason Licht’s calculated offseason moves solidify their roster to improve their chances of winning even more.

The Bucs were plagued by injuries in 2021, which was a factor in their eventual demise during the playoffs. Even though the Buccaneers had their entire projected starting defensive lineup in their playoff game versus the Los Angeles Rams, the weakness of their secondary still showed. Now, the Bucs have two veteran safeties to bolster a young position group that still has promising young players like Antoine Winfiled Jr.

The Athletic’s Greg Auman details what the Neal signing means for Tampa.

And as a few have noted, PFF reporter Trevor Sikkema is quick to remind Neal that he may have former rivals on the team besides Ryan and Brady — like Mike Evans after this head-led tackle that obliterated him.

Now, Neal can enjoy revenge games against the Atlanta Falcons, who are now in his NFC South division once more.