Earlier this week, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys were interested in Keanu Neal to try and upgrade their defense. Now it has been reported that the interest is mutual.
I'm told #Falcons free agent S Keanu Neal is currently deciding between playing WLB for the #Cowboys or the #Jets, per source.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 19, 2021
This not only confirms the reports that Neal was a target for the Cowboys, the reported switch to WILL linebacker also tracks with what was being said earlier. Neal has a reputation as a hard hitting player, and should be able to change positions as long as he is not beaten up in run defense. The recent signings for the Dallas defensive line should do a lot to help that.
Of course, this raises an obvious question as to what the plan is for the incumbent WILL, Jaylon Smith. Does this presage a demotion for him, or perhaps a switch to the SAM spot? Either would reduce his snaps, as would using him and Neal in a rotation at WILL, with the larger Smith handling running downs while Neal comes in for passing situations.
How that is pitched to him may make the difference in the tug of war with the Jets. Neal is seen as a talented player who bounced back in 2020 after a couple of years when he went on IR early.
Nothing is done yet, but we can hope that Jerry Jones can work some of that closer magic. Neal would bring an infusion of needed talent to Dallas and encourage those who want to see the team more active in free agency.