Falcons Projected to Lose Two Key Players

Falcons safety Keanu Neal

Getty Keanu Neal #22 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The NFL’s new league year is set to kick off in just a few weeks meaning the Falcons will be losing some players to free agency.

Pro Football Focus predicts strong safety Keanu Neal and center Alex Mack will be finding homes elsewhere with the Falcons salary cap a mess.

In fact, PFF already has Neal headed to the Texans and Mack signing with the Rams.

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Now, the Falcons could keep both Mack and Neal but it would be hard considering Atlanta is already $20 million over the $180 million expected salary cap. Keeping them would mean reconstructing several other player contracts which they already had to do last season.


 Neal to the Texans

PPF has Neal signing a two-year deal worth $10 million ($5M APY) with $6 million total guaranteed and $3.5 million fully guaranteed at signing.

“Neal is set to hit free agency coming off his $6.466 million fifth-year option in 2020, and he’s fortunate Atlanta stuck by it”, PFF said. “He was able to play a full season and provide quality snaps down in the box as well as in the slot, and a versatile safety who lurks near the line of scrimmage could be just what a few teams need this offseason.”

Neal impressively bounced back in 2020 after coming off two back-to-back season-ending injuries. He finished last season playing in 15 games with an interception, nine tackles for loss, two pass disruptions, and 76 solo tackles.


 Mack to the Rams

As for Mack, he’s headed to the West coast according to PFF and will join the Rams in protecting Matthew Stafford and Cam Akers.

“2021 would be Mack’s age 36 season, and Father Time appears to be catching up to the longtime great center,” PFF said. “With Atlanta set to bring in a new general manager and head coach as the team turns toward the future, Mack may have to move on.”

Mack is predicted to sign a one-year, $6 million fully guaranteed at signing.

However, there is some speculation that Mack could find himself in the Bay Area instead.


Mack Finds 49ers “Intriguing”

During an interview, Mack did with NBC Sports Matt Maiocco,  he praised the work Shanahan has done with San Francisco.

Mack suiting up for the Niners would mean he would reunite with his former coach, Shanahan, whom he seems to be a big fan of.

“Kyle is an incredible coach”, Mack said. He’s an incredible coach, great person, strong motivator, and runs an offense that is something that I’d know really well and that I performed very well in.

“What Kyle has done very well in the past is he’s always been able to link different plays and different schemes so they all look pretty much the same. But it takes advantage of the different things a defense will do. It’s a very smart offense, which is fun.”

The six-time Pro Bowler started 14 games in 2020 but sat out with a concussion the final two games. At 35, Mack has suited up for 78 of a possible 80 games since joining the Falcons in 2016.

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