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New York Jets have ‘preliminary interest’ in safety Keanu Neal (Report)

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Keanu Neal #22 of the Atlanta Falcons after the game against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Reports have named the New York Jets as one of the teams interested in the services of free-agent safety Keanu Neal.

The New York Jets have remained pretty quiet in day two of the legal tampering, but that doesn’t mean Joe Douglas is sitting around watching movies.

Per Josina Anderson, the Jets have been named as one of a handful of teams with “preliminary interest” in free-agent safety Keanu Neal.

With the New England Patriots signing two premier tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, AFC East teams will be forced to adjust defensively. Neal could provide the perfect hybrid player to deploy against New England.

Similar to former Jet Jamal Adams, Neal primarily plays mainly as a box safety.

In 2020, he played almost exactly half of his snaps lined up at that position. He’s also willing to play linebacker, allowing defensive coordinators to create havoc while featuring the versatile monster.

Neal brings with him sure tackling, good coverage ability and above-average pass rush for a defensive back. He finished tied for eighth among safeties with 83 tackles, while his nine total pressures were good for tied for ninth among all safeties (min. 500 snaps).

Durability is somewhat of an issue with Neal. He’s only played all 16 games in a season once (2017) and only played in four games combined from 2018-19.

If Neal can avoid injuries, he’d be an excellent piece for the Jets. Pairing Neal with Marcus Maye and Ashtyn Davis provides the Jets plenty of interchangeable parts suitable for multiple offensive sets.

With the NFL leaning towards more big nickel looks on defense, this becomes more of a plausible scenario.

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verge tibbs
3 years ago

Im gonna hope the colts dont offer too much and maybe neal would like to go to his former coach and saleh. The other teams arent looking all too much more attractive than the jets, imo. Then again, that lists coming from his agent so who knows.