NFL Free Agency: Green Bay Packers Re-Sign DE/OLB Mike Neal All Green Bay Packers All the Time

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Mike Neal, NFL Free Agency, Packers Free Agents, Packers free agencyAccording to his Twitter feed, defensive end/linebacker Mike Neal has signed a new two-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Neal had his most productive season in 2013, but that was mainly due to the fact he was finally able to remain healthy for a full season.  Neal had 47 combined tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and one interception in a season where he was moved from the defensive line to a linebacker position.

A second round pick of the Packers in 2010, Neal showed flashes of being a decent pass rusher during training camp but never was able to remain healthy and only saw action for more than half a season in 2012.  Neal had been rumored to be target by the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals, but ultimately chose to remain a Green Bay Packer.

With Neal’s return, it’s becoming clear no major defensive scheme overhaul is in order for the Packers this offseason. Moving Neal back to his original position on the defensive line however would indicate Green Bay wants to get leaner at the position.   There is also the possibility Neal could be moved all over the front seven as a pass rush specialist, lining up both with his hands on the ground as well as standing up.

This move at the least sets the stage for more competition throughout the unit as training camp approaches.  Neal is still young and has a lot to contribute.  He has natural athletic ability and now that he’s proven he can stay healthy, Neal could be critical towards Green Bay finally establishing a consistent pass rush.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


57 thoughts on “NFL Free Agency: Green Bay Packers Re-Sign DE/OLB Mike Neal

  1. Good, and hopefully he will continue to develop into a very capable linebacker. Not holding my breath, but it’s possible he could compliment Matthews’ other side. Could a full 16 game, 10 sack season be in him?

    On the other hand, it’s depressing. We may be signing our own free agents, and like anyone else I’m excited to see what kind of new players we get from the draft. But it’s just not enough.

    I’m just praying like crazy that TT will sign just one FA already. IMO, he missed out on T.J. Ward and Donte Whitner. Big time.

    Here’s hoping!

      1. Chad, you got that many dislikes because you didn’t say “Fire TT”. You didn’t go on and on about how bad we are going to be next season and that Capers and MM are horrible coaches and that Packers fans are screwed. Instead you wrote a reasonable article discussing some relevant facts and assumptions about a player that is not a “hot free agent”. How dare you! GoPack!

    1. Chad, by the time you wrote this TT had not only missed on the 2 you suggest but he’d also lost Al Woods to the Titans, for 2 years and $3.5M, a guy that could play all 3 D-Line positions. Certainly not a “BIG” name guy, but a probable starter in GB considering what we do not have at this time. What the hell is wrong with Albino Ted that he can’t offer up 3.5M over 2 years? F.A.T. Fire Albino Ted!

  2. Just sign Chris Clemons at FS and I’m happy. Or, convince me that Hyde is ready to start at FS and I’m happy too.

    If GB is FORCED to draft a starting FS in the draft, I’m going to puke though!

    I like Neal as a “movable chess piece” in most any defense, but Dom had better find an effective way of getting the most out of all of the draft picks that should be hitting their stride on the defensive side of the ball this year.

    1. I too would be happy if we either snag Clemons or move Hyde. Hyde may not be fast enough to be an outside corner, but he’s plenty fast enough to be a S. Dix/Pryor only ran 4.58, not blazing. Hyde is an instinctual player and getting him on the field more often is a good thing. goPack

  3. This guy, as much as anyone else, is going to be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ as a reflection of the ability of the Pack’s D coaching unit to develop players.

    If Neal can make that next step, we’ll soon be hearing, “is there a Dr. Frankenstein in the house?”

  4. Raji’s next, then Jordy and Cobb. Going to have a second year guy at center, a rookie S because every team with needs signed the FA’s, yet another D lineman that TT has no success with and who’s left to take the pressure off CM? In short, the same old story that is not enough to beat the elite. Without AR this team finishes last in the north. There has to be a happy medium somewhere between these crazy Denver, get it while Manning’s upright, moves and our comatose plodder

  5. Don’t want anything to do with Raji, but Teddy does….stay tuned. That one’s going to bring him some heat, but he couldn’t care less. Gotta sign his guys (especially the #9 pick) Only shot at impact newcomers will be the draft & he’s missed with every single #1 except for AR & CM. Hoping something changes every single year won’t work while the albino’s in the house

    1. Perry’s been healthy 7 games in 2 years after never being hurt at USC. Jones played as well or Better than EVERY DL selected before or after him in Round one last year. Teams selecting in the mid to late 20’s in the draft very seldom have that “Impact” player. Look at his 2nd round choices the last 3 years, Cobb, Hayward, and Lacy. Don’t believe me check for yourself.

      1. Great review Perry. TT has been really good in the second round. I would be fine if he trades out of the first to get an earlier 2nd round plus additional pick.

        1. LOL…Not a bad idea given his track record Schen. I wasn’t trying to be a dic…. Just hoping that Perry still develops into the player he was at USC even though he’s playing a different position and I’m a big Datone Jones fan. Living in Los Angeles I watched both Perry and Jones quite a bit. Hoping more than anything. If those two play to their expectations the front 7 looks much better!

      2. Huh?? You think Datone Jones played better than Sheldon Richardson, the DROY? Not even close. I gotta be missing something…

        1. Did you read what I wrote? I said any DL taken around the same time Jones was, in the mid 20’s or so. Who I was comparing him to was Floyd at 23, Werner at 24, Jones at 26, and Williams at 28. Richardson was taken 13th overall. You’re missing your glasses is all.

          1. Um, yes, I read what you wrote. It said, “Jones played as well or Better than EVERY DL selected before or after him in Round one last year.”

            Was Richardson not selected “before or after him in round one?”

  6. Shields and Neal, 2 FAs signed by TT. 3 more to go. EDS, Cobb and Nelson will be 5, as we heard a few weeks ago. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. EDS is as good as gone. He is not that good, and TT has already decided they have his replacement in Tretter. Cobb and Jordy won’t be extended till summer, at the soonest.

      1. Actually EDS was ranked as the 7th best Center in the NFL last season. Not to bad for a guy that started like 4 games the year before in 2012. To expect a guy that broke his ankle in a fumble drill the first day of camp is a bit of a reach.

    2. I have to think EDS is gone. He’s visiting other teams as his agent is shopping him around. Herd he was in New York trying to work out a deal with the Jersey Giants.

      1. Giants signed a Center. I don’t know if he’s starter quality but they signed a FA Center. What is starting to really bug me about Ted’s approach to Free Agency is EVERY player they plan a trip to Green Bay for signs before they ever make the trip! Why is that? I mean the Packers are viewed as a top 5 NFC team in most cases, yet they can’t even get the guy in town.
        I’m starting to wonder if TT has such a bad reputation of “Lowballing” players he can’t even get them to town. Glad they signed Mike Neal, he played decent enough last year. Perhaps if they play Perry in the ‘Elephant Position” and Matthews is healthy they’ll pressure the QB. BUT, I’m terrified at who they have right now to stop the run on this roster.

        1. To Nick Perry, TT will wait until all the other FA D-Lineman are gone, then he’ll pay Pickett and Raji each $6M per year to return. And of course he’ll let Jolly walk because GB’s doctors don’t agree with the other 16 doctors that say he’s OK! Does the name Nick Collins ring a bell?

  7. Very, very happy we got Neal squared away for the near future. Neal has taken a lot of heat from the fans, but he’s a baller.

    Be ready to see Neal become the “gadget” defensive lineman- he’s going to be used like Cullen Jenkins was in some of the more exotic looks on d. He’s probably going to be the lone down lineman in psycho, for instance, because he’s blessed with high strength in a very athletic body.

  8. Is Sean Richardson healthy? Looks like it’s going to be him, Banjo, or perhaps Hyde playing next to Burnett this season.

    1. There are 4 or 5 S prospects in the draft that could fit in nicely too. Obviously, that doesn’t really help for this year though…

  9. I like the resigning of Mike Neal. I think that he is coming into his own and will be a big part of the new front seven. Glad that we will see some return on his investment.

    It is up to Capers to find a way to get our better athletes into the game on a more consistent basis. Neal, Perry, Matthews, Datone Jones, Worthy, Boyd and the rest can be a decent front. Add Louis Nix and another energetic young buck on the D-Line and we are cooking.

  10. whitner was not a break the bank sign and he may have discounted the price some to come to GB. a major lost opportunity. Let’s see what Jennings does with the Bears. if he does OK then we know it is the scheme, and the giant holes in the middle is because Capers either cannot get the guys to understand it, or the scheme is just complex.

    1. If a guy’s willing to leave a perennial championship contender to go play in a gulag like Cleveland, the idea of agreeing to a discounted price to play in Green Bay is at best a reach.

      There’ll be no Safeties riding in on white horses during the FA period.

    2. Whiner, ah Whitner, went to Cleveland for the money and the ‘opportunity’ to go back to Ohio. I live in the SF Bay Area and the guy did nothing but whine after each game the Niners lost, and when he was hit with a PF penalty! Not at all unhappy that GB did NOT pursue this clown.

  11. Thank you tt good player getting beter now eds the dolphins sign the player that iwanted nt starks so i gess we get pickett plus maybe a nt first or secondo i forgot that we need to get a safety on first round i hope that you sign a free agent lb or inlb

  12. Thank you tt good player getting beter now eds the dolphins sign the player that iwanted nt starks so i gess we get pickett plus maybe a nt first or secondo i forgot that we need to get a safety on first round i hope that you sign a free agent lb or inlb

  13. Thank you tt good player getting beter now eds the dolphins sign the player that iwanted nt starks so i gess we get pickett plus maybe a nt first or secondo i forgot that we need to get a safety on first round i hope that you sign a free agent lb or inlb

    1. No way… I see Neal getting some snaps at OLB and others as a DT in obvious pass rush situations. That was the role they had planned for him last year before the injuries to Perry and Matthews forced him to play a lot more OLB than expected.

  14. I like the return of Neal, but haven’t heard anything about money, only that it is for 2 years. I am surprised. I didn’t think Neal would take less than 3 years, and I was not sure of what he might command as an annual salary – I feared $6 million per year. He is intriguing but I thought he did not show quite enough for $6 million/yr. Still, He might well blossom, and be used at DE and OLB, maybe even shift CM to ILB with Perry and Neal at OLB to confuse the opponent.

    1. Covering up your deficiencies in talent or poorly managing it, will only work in the short term. The pack need to increase the talent level, not stay the same.

  15. If TT payed more then 2M a year for this back up player, I’m going to be pissed…3M maximum

  16. This is a good signing for the Pack. Neal was starting to do some good things late last season at OLB after making a TOUGH transition. Hopefully he can take another step.

    I still think it’s strange that, after Neal played well at DE in 2012, they moved him to OLB in 2013. Now, they want to get leaner and faster at DE, which is exactly what Neal was.

    Either way, I’m glad he’s still on the team!

  17. Old Gomer Pyle does it again… Change is scary, just keep that same exact defense from last year. Plan on another sad season for defense. I suppose it will take many losing seasons before we can dump Gomer Pyle (TT)

    1. Charles, this this thing in May, it’s called the NFL draft. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?…..

      1. Scheny, do you think we can draft about 6 NFL ready to contribute immediately rookies? That’s what it will take and Gomer ain’t got it…

        1. We don’t need that many players…..we don’t need a top 5 defense. We need a defense that can step up occasionally.

Comments are closed.