The Seahawks hosted veteran Packers pass rusher Mike Neal for a visit, per Ian Rapoport. The free agent is entering his 7th season and has averaged 4.5 sacks each year for the past four seasons in a rotational role for Green Bay.
Jason Hirschhorn, writer over at Acme Packing Company, tells me that Neal "fits the LEO spot in the Seahawks' defense. He's pretty reliable against the run, and adequate rushing the pass. Overall, he's a nice role player."
As for playing defensive end or linebacker? "Neal can handle those pass rush duties," said Hirschhorn, "but he probably shouldn't be put into coverage very often."
Here's Adam Kriesel's scouting report on Neal from Acme Packing Company as well.
Years in NFL: 6
Status: Unrestricted free agent
Expiring contract: 2 years, $8 million
Stats: 36 total tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble
Neal is finishing his second contract with the Packers. The first part of his career was plagued with injuries, but just completed his third consecutive healthy season. Neal was the biggest beneficiary in 2015 when Dom Capers decided to limit Peppers' snaps in an effort to keep him fresh.
While his numbers have never jumped off the page, he filled in well when Peppers was on the sideline and Matthews was in the middle. There may not be a starting role available on paper for 2016, but he is a good depth guy to have. Beyond Peppers and Matthews, Jayrone Elliott has earned more of a look on the outside. The team also experimented with Datone Jones playing the outside in 2015. Looking ahead, it is hard to see Thompson bringing back both Neal and Perry. If the team decides to keep one, it is hard to imagine taking Perry over Neal.
So, a pretty interesting report, and Kriesel actually advocated keeping Neal over Perry, the former first round pick [the team actually re-signed Perry instead].
Milwaulkee Journal Sentinel Packers reporter Bob McGinn talked to some scouting personnel about the Packers' free agents and this is what they told him about Neal.
Mike Neal, outside linebacker: "I think he has been overpaid for the production. He'll have a market but only in the $1 or $2 million range. He'll help someone. I'd probably take Neal right now over (Nick) Perry."..."He's more of a situational type guy. His best bet is where he's at right now. That's his problem. He's not ideal at anything size-wise. He's not a consistent pass rusher. He does (give effort), and that's kind of where he gets by. If you're talking about paying somebody, where do you justify it with somebody like that?"..."Scheme flexibility. DE in a 4-3 or OLB in a 3-4. Tweener with substitution-package value. You're probably talking about average level starter money. If you're paying him as an end, you want pass-rush production. Yeah, you want the run game, too, but the guys that get paid big money are the guys that can get to the quarterback. If you want versatility, you'd lean more toward Neal over Perry. That (rushing inside) is hard to find."
Interesting stuff. Stay tuned to see if the Seahawks show any more interest.