After the Patriots' playoff loss to the Ravens, veteran guard Stephen Neal said: "I’m not sure if I’ll keep playing, keep getting in them car accidents each week. I don’t know. We’ll have to find out, talk to the family, see what options are available.”
More than a month later Neal has made his decision. As ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported tonight, Neal plans to play in 2010 and will test the free-agent market.
Titans starting guard Eugene Amano reportedly just signed an extension averaging about $5 million per season, so that provides a ballpark figure that Neal might be able to command on the market, likely on a shorter term deal. The presence of former Patriots offensive coaches in Denver (Josh McDaniels) and Kansas City (Charlie Weis) could also create a solid market for him.
After his last foray into free agency in 2006, Neal, a native of San Diego, told reporters that he would have considered a team closer to home. After reportedly visiting with the Vikings, Bills and Dolphins, he ended up re-signing in New England.