Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Mike Neal is an impending free agent this offseason, and he has stated his desire to re-sign with the team. However, there are other teams interested in him, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reports that the Arizona Cardinals are “among some teams” with interest in Neal, who has the ability to play at DE or OLB.
It isn’t surprising to hear that the Cardinals are interested in Neal, who would be a 3-4 OLB for them. The Cardinals are in the hunt for some pass rushing help, but I wonder if they should go with a marquee edge rusher instead in order to bolster their talented defense further. Neal recorded 49 tackles and five sacks last season, so he’s a credible role player. He’s also just 26 and has nowhere to go but “up” due to his age and the fact that he still has plenty to learn when it comes to playing OLB.
The Packers figure to have Clay Matthews and Nick Perry as starting outside linebacker last season, so re-signing Neal isn’t a priority for them. However, it would be wise for them to keep Neal, especially with Ryan Pickett potentially gone. Neal’s ability to play at DE and OLB would really help the Packers out, just as it would help a team like the Cardinals. His versatility and upside as a pass rusher are key traits, and maybe that’s why the Cardinals are showing interest in him instead of a bigger name at the position.