Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Keanu Neal suffered a knee injury that will require what has been described as minor surgery, but that operation will still be keeping him out for three to four weeks. Rather than rely on backup safeties Kemal Ishmael and/or Damian Parms to fill in, the Falcons have instead signed a former All-Pro safety to pick up the slack.
The team announced on Sunday morning that it has struck a deal with Dashon Goldson:
Goldson spent the first six seasons of his career with the 49ers, working as a part-time player for his first two years before becoming a starter in 2009. He played in 62 of 64 games from 2009 to 2012, and eventually became one of the NFL’s top safeties. He made the Pro Bowl in both 2011 and 2012, and was a first-team All-Pro in 2012 as well. He recorded 310 tackles, 14 interceptions, 31 passes defensed, and four fumble recoveries during those four seasons, and by one measure (Pro-Football-Reference’s Approximate Value) was the fifth-most valuable safety in football.
He left San Francisco for a five-year, $41.25 million contract from the Buccaneers that offseason, and things have not exactly gone quite as well for him since. He underwhelmed for two seasons in Tampa Bay before being traded to Washington (along with a seventh-round pick) for a sixth-rounder prior to last season. He had 108 tackles and an interception, but Washington still released him in March. Now, he’ll get the chance to show he’s regained his previous form.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Falcons sign former All-Pro safety to help fill in for injured Keanu Neal