3 safeties Seahawks must pursue with Jamal Adams still limping
By Lee Vowell
Seahawks option 3: Seattle free agent Ryan Neal
Ryan Neal makes the most sense for the Seahawks to be Jamal Adams’ replacement. Heck, Neal is used to replacing Adams at this point. In the last two seasons, Neal has stepped in when Adams was hurt and the defense hasn’t been much worse with Neal, if any. In fact, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded Ryan Neal as the best overall safety this past year. The argument could be made that Seattle’s defense is much worse without Neal than without Adams at times.
Of course, the last part of that is probably Seattle’s coaching staff’s fault. After Adams went down with an injury in Week 1, the Seahawks initially tried to replace Adams with Josh Jones. I have zero idea what they were thinking. Jones isn’t good. Plus, Seattle watched Ryan Neal play well in 2021 when he took Adams’ spot after an earlier Adams injury. Seattle’s defense was hurt in 2022 because they would have more quickly adapted to being without Adams had they just plugged in Neal.
In 2022, Neal had 1 interception but 8 passes defended, a forced fumble, a sack, and 66 tackles. He only started in 10 games, however, or his numbers would have been even better. The question about Neal is what his market value will be as a free agent.
According to Spotrac, Neal could command a salary of $2.4 million in 2023. If this is anywhere close to being correct, the Seahawks have to be the team that signs Neal. After all, there is a good chance he will play more than Adams in 2023 because who knows when Adams will be back and Neal is nearly as good.