TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers strengthened their secondary Wednesday when they signed former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
The University of Florida alum was the 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and spent his first five seasons in Atlanta as a safety. He battled injuries in 2018 and 2019 before coming back in 2020 to record 73 solo tackles, one sack, and one interception.
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
He followed former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to Dallas and was moved to linebacker. As a linebacker in 2021, Neal recorded 42 solo tackles and one sack.
Neal will likely move back to the safety position with the Bucs. He'll join fellow new Buccaneers safety Logan Ryan and holdover Antoine Winfield, Jr. to help shore up the backline of the Bucs' pass defense.
In 2021, the Bucs allowed just 6.4 yards per pass attempt but were in the middle of the league in most defensive passing stats. If the Bucs pass defense shows moderate improvement and stays healthy, the road to the Super Bowl opens up even more.