Why did the Seahawks rescind their tender to safety Ryan Neal?

Apr 3, 2023, 2:01 PM

Seahawks Ryan Neal...

Ryan Neal of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates an interception against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 23, 2022. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

The Seahawks made a kind of move Saturday you don’t see all that often during the NFL season, rescinding their first right of refusal tender to restricted free agent safety Ryan Neal.

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The 27-year-old Neal has been with the Seahawks the past four seasons, and he was a valuable and reliable member of the defense especially in the past three years. While strong safety Jamal Adams has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries, Neal has stepped up, playing 43 games with 19 starts since 2020 for Seattle.

That run may be over for Neal with the Seahawks now, as Seattle rescinding its tender worth $2.627 million makes Neal an unrestricted free agent.

“Ryan Neal looks like he’s going to be moving on,” Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk said on Monday’s edition of Brock and Salk.

That led to the obvious question for Salk’s co-host, former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football analyst Brock Huard: Why?

“I think unfortunately for Ryan, the market did him no favors,” Huard responded. “So whereas the market was incredibly favorable for a Bobby Wagner one-year deal, was incredibly favorable for a Julian Love two-year deal and some of the others that the Seahawks put together, those favorable deals meant that there was just no more money to pay the bills.”

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The deal for Love, a fifth-year safety who started 16 games for the New York Giants in 2022, probably has a lot to do with Seattle cutting Neal free. In addition to Love and Adams, Seattle has Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs on the roster.

Huard explained the decision from what he thinks is the Seahawks’ point of view.

“‘I’m sorry, Ryan, we’re just gonna have to move on. We can’t have four safeties. I mean, we just can’t.’ And you say, ‘Well, it’s just $2.67 million.’ Yeah, that is still $1.6 million more than they could afford, that they’re gonna need (for salary) cap space for this draft class,” Huard said. “And when the musical chairs at safety ran out, it was not restructuring (the contract of) Jamal Adams, it was Ryan Neal who was left without a chair.”

Even with all that being taken into account, just because the Seahawks have rescinded their tender for Neal doesn’t rule out him making his way back to Seattle.

“Does that mean he can’t be a Seahawk? By no means,” Huard said. “We’ll see how all of the rest of this shakes out, we’ll see how this draft shakes out. We’ll see how they can continue to manipulate the cap, but can he come back on a one-year minimum making $800,000? That’s a possibility, but as for now, they need that cap savings and those real dollars to have enough cap space so they can take care of a draft class three weeks from now.”

Listen to the full conversation in the Blue 88 segment from Monday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast below.

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Why did the Seahawks rescind their tender to safety Ryan Neal?