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Bears, Cardinals Reportedly Interested in Mike Neal

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Bears, Cardinals Reportedly Interested in Mike Neal

Mike Neal is no longer under contract with the Green Bay Packers. The door is still open for him to return, but as of Tuesday, he's able to sign wherever he wants and there appears to be at least a couple interested parties.

One of the teams courting Neal is the Packers' NFC North rival, the Chicago Bears, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Nothing appears imminent at this point, but should he join the Bears, Neal would arguably be playing the position where he fits best as a defensive end in a 3-4 defense as Chicago looks to replace the declining production of Julius Peppers.

The Bears also happened to spend major money at the same position on the first day of free agency when they signed Lamarr Houston to a five-year $35 million deal. It's likely the Bears are waiting to see how much it will cost to bring Neal into the fold.

"Neal, 26, is listed at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, so the Bears would have more robust book ends on the line than they have had in the past if they signed him," writes Biggs.

It's also worth noting that Neal would practically playing in his back yard if he signed with the Bears. A native of Merrillville, Ind., Neal grew up right across the border.

Also in the mix for Neal's services appears to be the Arizona Cardinals, per Mike Garofolo of FoxSports1:

With multiple teams in the mix, the Packers may have to move fast if the want to retain Neal. But there's the chance the Packers would be satisfied to potentially reap a compensatory draft choice if Neal left as well.

While Neal made an admirable transition to 3-4 outside linebacker and was able to lead the team with 37 quarterback hurries last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com (premium content), he was never a perfect fit at the position, especially when forced to play in space.

With players like DeMarcus Ware and Lamarr Woodley still available on the free-agent market, the Packers might get involved if the price is amenable for a player that's more experienced and an ideal fit for Dom Capers defense. Or the Packers could add depth through the draft as well.

Last season, former Packers outside linebacker Erik Walden signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts, which could be a starting point for negotiations.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

Good for Mike Neal. I hope he gets a FA bounty. He's a new daddy and kids can be expensive. :)

I just hope he gets it from someone besides the Packers.

GBPack's picture

I really like Neal and hope we can hang on to him. For having never played OLB before he was really impressive all things considered, and MM says he still views him as an inside rusher in sub packages. Valuable versatility.

Bears must not think too highly of McClellin or Wootton if the interset is legit...

HankScorpio's picture

That McClennin pick was a strange one, IMO. Everything I had read prior to the draft suggested McClennin would be a 3-4 OLB in the NFL and Nick Perry a 4-3 DE. McClennin was the guy i wanted the Packers to take but the Bears nabbed him a few spots ahead of the Packers. I'm not trying to say I know the Packers would have taken McClennin had he been there, just that I thought it would be a good fit.

2 seasons later, I've seen nothing from Perry to suggest I was wrong to think he's a 4-3 DE. I can't say I've seen McClennin enough to make any comment on that side of it.

Stroh's picture

Bears are moving McClellin to LB. Not sure if which position, but I think it mentioned him being either Sam or Mike LB. If true, which I'm sure is, that would open a position at DE for Neal. He probably is a better fit at 43 DE than he is as a 34 OLB, but he seemed to transition pretty well to OLB last year and would improve w/ another year.

I'm thinking the interest will price him out of GB tho.

GBPack's picture

I really like Neal and hope we can hang on to him. For having never played OLB before he was really impressive all things considered, and MM says he still views him as an inside rusher in sub packages. Valuable versatility.

Bears must not think too highly of McClellin or Wootton if the interest is legit...

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Mike seemed to be coming on we need someone to get after the QB.

Allan Murphy's picture

IDK MAYBE ?

Allan Murphy's picture

PEPPERS WOULD LOVE TO BEET BEARS TWICE A YEAR LOL

Allan Murphy's picture

I SIGN DETRICK FIRST EDS GAME CALLER ?

murphy's picture

"He's expected to compete for a starting job in Chicago."

Instant upgrade...

...For the Packers.

:)

Evan's picture

haha...love it. Thank you, Chicago.

RC Packer Fan's picture

LOL. no kidding right.

It definitely caught me off guard.

Strengthens our team and weakens theirs at the same time. LOL...

Hopefully they are high enough on Jennings that they don't draft a Safety in the 1st round now.

GBPack's picture

Bwahahahaha!

L's picture

Have to wonder if part of the reasoning behind their signing him is because they can pick his brain for information about Don Capers' Defense since MD Jennings was a starter with plenty of experience within his system. I can't get any info on the deal because of web-page blocks here but was there any guaranteed money in the signing? If not, no real risk to them given that they can leave him off the 53 and suffer pretty much zero financial consequences and yet gain an off-season of absorbing what he knows about the Packers system.

Aeric's picture

Another quality personnel move by the Bears! I just hope Mike Neal doesn't realize all that potential for someone else.

Zoellner25's picture

Maybe the Bears can't judge talent.

ben's picture

Jokes on us. He started for us for 2 years.

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