Reports have come out that Keanu Neal will not be franchise-tagged, making him an unrestricted free-agent.
The Atlanta Falcons are not expected to franchise tag safety Keanu Neal, per source. Former first-round pick set to hit the open market.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 9, 2021
This doesn’t really come as a surprise, as Neal likely wouldn’t be worth the $11.2 million for one season, especially given how cash-strapped Atlanta is this offseason. I don’t think the Falcons will end up using the franchise tag on any of their free agents, but the deadline hasn’t passed just yet — Atlanta has until 4:00.
This decision doesn’t close the door on Keanu Neal returning to Atlanta, but the Falcons can probably sign him for two seasons for less than $11.2 million in total. If not, I understand this is a business, and we’ll wish Neal the best. In a deep free agent and draft class for safeties, I don’t see Terry Fontenot overpaying to keep him. However, his versatility would be welcomed in Dean Pees’ defense.
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