Falcons Agree to Terms with Top Pick Neal

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY SportsKeanu Neal

Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal became the first of the 2016 NFL Draft’s first-round picks to come to terms on a new contract according to Pro Football Talk, with the team later announcing the move. Neal agreed to an undisclosed four-year deal and will officially sign on the dotted line later today when he reports to rookie minicamp.

Neal was selected by the Falcons with the 17th overall pick last Thursday evening. Neal was a productive two-year at Florida before declaring early for the draft after his junior season. He saved his best year for last, finishing with 96 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and one pass breakup this past fall. The previous year he recorded 45 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups.

Neal has close ties with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, despite never playing for him prior to his arrival in Atlanta. Quinn served as Florida’s defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 and his presence in Gainesville was one reason why Neal chose the school. However Quinn left Florida before Neal arrived on campus to take over the defense of the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

Neal’s deal is expected to be worth around $10 million based off the compensation that last year’s 17th overall selection, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead, signed a year ago. Neal’s deal will also include a team option for a fifth year in 2020 that will pay him the average salary of the third through 25th highest-paid safeties in the league.

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Aaron Freeman
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