I’d have to wager that the majority of Falcons fans would’ve liked to have seen Keanu Neal return to Atlanta this offseason, and plenty of fans felt the same way about Damontae Kazee. Atlanta’s made it fairly clear they’re starting over at safety, however, and thus both players appear to be moving on.
For those interested in where they may land, here’s an update: It appears both could wind up with former Falcons coaches as their defensive coordinators. Today, we learned Keanu Neal did.
The #Cowboys have agreed to terms with former #Falcons safety Keanu Neal on a one-year, $5 million deal, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 20, 2021
The Cowboys are scheduled to visit with free-agent safeties Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker next week, according to multiple sources. Both players are coming off Achilles’ tears suffered last season. Kazee played for new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn... https://t.co/prtaKkblCH— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 19, 2021
The Cowboys always seem to be in the market for safeties, so their interest in Kazee is no great surprise. Dan Quinn is the defensive coordinator there and he was at least heavily responsible for Kazee’s full-time move to safety, so buying low on the veteran in the hopes that he’ll be healthy and effective is a sensible move and a good fit.
The only surprise with Neal, who will be choosing between Quinn and former defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich in New York, is that he’s not being looked at purely as a safety. There was plenty of discussion in Atlanta during Neal’s tenure regarding whether he might thrive in more of a hybrid role or even as a full-time linebacker, but the Falcons didn’t seem to seriously entertain that notion. He’ll apparently take on more of a hybrid role in Dallas, though he’ll still primarily be a safety.
Either way, though, it seems unlikely either one will be back in Atlanta, as expected. We’ll wish them well at their next stops and see what the Falcons do at safety, a position where they need to invest significant resources before the seasons begins to field a competent group.