Steelers to Sign former 1st-Round Safety Keanu Neal
The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to a two-year contract with safety Keanu Neal, agent David Canter announced on Thursday.
Keanu Neal was a first-round pick for the Atlanta Falcons out of Florida after playing three strong seasons in Gainesville. He spent his entire rookie contract with the Falcons before heading to Dallas to join the Cowboys. There, he would convert to linebacker, but he converted right back to safety in Tampa Bay in 2022. So, it likely is to be seen that he can be a box safety in Pittsburgh as well.
The move comes on the heels of Terrell Edmunds departing for the Philadelphia Eagles which left the Steelers scrambling in a bit of fervor. They did send an offer to Edmunds, but he chose to leave for the opportunity. Now, Neal will help the Steelers consolidate the safety room with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Damontae Kazee.
“We have a lot of respect for Terrell and he’s been here for five years,” Khan said of Edmunds. “You know, we were interested and had conversations with him. But he decided that the best thing for him was to pursue an opportunity elsewhere. But I’ve got a lot of respect for him and he’ll always be a Steeler. We had a lot of good talks with him and his agent throughout the process.”
Neal is 27 and will be 28 this season. In his career, he has three interceptions but 473 tackles, including 106 and 116 in his first two seasons with the Falcons. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2017. The hard-hitting safety has forced 8 fumbles in his career across three teams, and he has teamed up with Kazee in two other stops.
Dulac noted that the Steelers see Neal as depth and not the end all be all. That likely means they will still look to the draft to add someone to the room. However, they have the flexibility to do things that they did not before this move, such as a three-safety set.