The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a deal with former Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal on Saturday. Neal's deal is a one-year, $5 million contract that reunites him with former head coach Dan Quinn. The Cowboys hired Dan Quinn to lead their defense in 2021.
During the 2020-2021 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys gave up a franchise-record 473 points. The Cowboys' secondary suffered key injuries to Chidobe Awuzie and Trevon Diggs, among others. Even when it was healthy, this skill group clearly needed a makeover. Keanu Neal brings a secure tackler to a Dallas Cowboys defense that desperately needs one.
The Dallas Cowboys may not be done adding to their secondary. Dallas is set to meet with Damontae Kazee, who also played for Quinn in Atlanta, and Malik Hooker. It's hard to say if the Cowboys will sign either of them, given the fact that both players are coming off Achilles injuries.
Keanu Neal is a big addition for the Dallas Cowboys defense. But there is one lingering problem that comes along with Neal. He has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. But if Keanu Neal can correct this troubling pattern, he will surely help the Dallas Cowboys defense in 2021.
NFL Free Agency: How can Keanu Neal help the Dallas Cowboys defense next season?
If Keanu Neal is healthy, he can help the entire Cowboys defense. The Dallas Cowboys can either play him at safety or linebacker, if they choose to do so. Either way, Neal will bring the most production in stopping the run.
After he only played in four games in both the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons, Keanu Neal only played in all 16 games once for the Atlanta Falcons. But Neal has registered 100 or more total tackles in all three seasons in which he was healthy. Jaylon Smith is the only Cowboys defensive player that recorded over 100 total tackles in 2020.
Xavier Woods and Donovan Wilson were the next closest to 100 tackles for the Cowboys. Both safeties registered 70+ tackles in 2020. Woods is an unrestricted free agent, and Wilson is entering his third year with Dallas.
Wilson may be the one player that Keanu Neal can help the most for the Dallas Cowboys. Wilson recorded 71 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries in 2020. The Cowboys see a bright future with Wilson, and Keanu Neal can help with the development of the young safety. That's just one way that Neal can be beneficial for the Cowboys.
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