SS – Keanu Neal
Atlanta Falcons did strong safety Keanu Neal a favor by playing him on his fifth-year option and allowing him to showcase that he can stay healthy for a full season. Prior to that, this hard-hitting safety has dealt with injuries throughout his career that have kept him from reaching his full potential.
This acquisition is my least favorite as it would impact Dallas Cowboys’ assumed starting strong safety Donovan Wilson in a negative way. This is also the most likely free-agent acquisition as Dan Quinn drafted neal while he was the head coach in Atlanta with the 17th pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
Neal was selected to the Pro Bowl back in 2017 which coincidentally was the only time in his career where he played in all 16 regular-season games. Neal also played in the Super Bowl that year meaning he got through 19 games without injuring himself.
It seems his luck ran out as he only played in four total games in the next two seasons. Last year Neal played in 15 games on his fifth-year option and although he was decent, he was hardly the player he was before missing almost the previous two years to injury.
His projected $5 million dollars a year asking price could be just outside of where the Cowboys front office feels comfortable with especially with Wilson already in play on a sixth-round rookie contract.
This could all change if Quinn is insistent on adding a player he is familiar with rather than running his defense with a player that is unknown to him and his scheme. I think that both camps find it in their best interests to unite and find a happy medium that both sides can live with.
It is unknown what this pandemic will allow next season so filling your roster up with players that are familiar with this system, even if it means pushing out current starters, is something Cowboy fans might have to get used to.