Terms were not disclosed but the Packers typically sign their non-first-round picks to four-year deals. Based on the contracts to Sean Lee (55th overall pick by Dallas) and Terrence Cody (57th overall pick by Baltimore), it's likely that Neal (pick No. 56) signed for four years, $3.4425 million with a signing bonus of $1.6475 million.
Neal's importance to make an early splash increased after last year's starting defensive end, Johnny Jolly, was suspended for all of this season. With the ascension of B.J. Raji into the starting lineup, Jolly would have been the defensive line's main backup. Now, that role might fall upon Neal — though last year's sixth-round pick, Jarius Wynn, or even Justin Harrell could take on some of that role.
"I think Mike Neal, even though we don't have pads on, you can just see how strong he is," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said during the June minicamp. "He probably, of all the guys that I had from the first day until the last day of the Okie stuff that was new to him, getting into that flat stance and two-gapping and doing the things he had never done before, he made such great improvement in there. It's really neat to see."
Neal started 23 of his final 24 games at Purdue, with 5.5 sacks each as a junior and senior. He was an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team as a senior.
Only one first-round pick has signed, but that was No. 24 Dez Bryant by Dallas. Bulaga was No. 23, so that deal should help facilitate talks. Bryant signed for five years and $11.8 million, with $8.3 million guaranteed, according to the Dallas Morning News.
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