The Seattle Seahawks made the somewhat surprising decision to move on from safety Ryan Neal last week. After initially giving him a first right of refusal tender as a restricted free agent, the offer was withdrawn, making him unrestricted. On Tuesday it was reported that Neal agreed to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ending his tenure in Seattle after four seasons.
Parting ways with Neal appears to be down to a combination of a salary cap crunch and also the signing of Julian Love, who was similarly hailed for his versatility and on-field performance with the New York Giants.
Once a practice squad player during the early part of his Seahawks career, Neal soon developed an important role on Seattle’s defense in 2020. His immediate impact play was intercepting Dak Prescott in the closing seconds of the Seahawks’ 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Neal made 19 starts in his Seahawks career (usually filling in for an injured Jamal Adams), and last season he received All-Pro votes after posting career highs in tackles, passes defensed, and tackles for loss.
Neal wrote a farewell post on his Instagram page thanking the Seahawks organization and city of Seattle.
Seattle has been a special place for me the past 4 years. A place I won’t ever forget. You grabbed a kid scratching to break a roster, and allowed him to grow. Thank you to everyone in the building. Yall made coming to work easy. Thank you to my teammates, the love is real.
Forever grateful for the PNW. Thank you.
All the best to Neal down in Tampa!