It’s been a defensive start for my profile writing this off-season, and today, we’re going to look at another potential addition for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary.
Logan Ryan just got done contributing to a memorable run with the Tennessee Titans. Despite the lack of a title run, the season was a good one for Ryan and his teammates. As he nears the potential of becoming an unrestricted free-agent, could he find a spot in Tampa to continue his career as he pursues more opportunities, and hopefully another Lombardi.
LOGAN RYAN’S CAREER THUS FAR
Selected in the third-round of the 2013 NFL Draft with pick 83 by the New England Patriots, Ryan spent the first four-years of his career with Tom Brady’s team, winning two Super Bowl titles in the process.
In 2017, Ryan signed with the Tennessee Titans for three-years on a contract paying him up to $30M over the life of the contract. With 2019 being the final year of that contract, the 29-year old cornerback will spend this off-season figuring out where his future will take him.
Wherever he lands, he’ll be bringing seventeen career interceptions with him, coming off his best individual season as he had four of those in 2019 to go with 18 passes defense, 4.5 sacks and 113 total tackles. The passes defenses, sacks and tackles are all career highs.
Oh, and he forced four fumbles too.
WHY IT WORKS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach has emphasized the defense as his team’s priority this off-season. Which makes sense, given the unit looked like it was on it’s way to becoming one of the better groups in the NFL in the second half of last season.
Adding players isn’t as simple as just getting a talented guy and telling him to go play football. The fit has to be there in scheme and in the locker room. With Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting becoming the big guys on campus - or at least in the cornerback group - adding a veteran will take finesse. The new guy not only needs to play well, he needs to be able to gain the acceptance of his new teammates and their respect, simultaneously.
Given that Ryan himself came into the league as a third round pick, means he knows what it takes to go from day two of the NFL Draft, to the Super Bowl. Having thrived in New England, shows Ryan knows what it means to put the team first.
His teammates will appreciate his physical style of play, and the versatility which allows him to defend on the perimeter, but also move inside to the nickel with ease and success. Experience and humility will earn the respect of those who welcome him to Tampa and ensure the disruption only exists in the fan base, and on the roster, but not on the field of play.
Exactly what I just eluded to. Davis, Dean and Murphy-Bunting did really well, and look like a trio that could help lead this franchise’s defense into their next age of excellence. What if one, or more, of them go down to injury? This is a physical game, and everyone knows injuries are a side-effect of playing it.
Would it be better to have the depth pieces come in by way of more draft picks, lower tier free-agents, or even undrafted free-agents? Or would it be better to build depth by filling from the top as one of the three then moves into a support role with the ability to step up if needed.
Not an easy answer, but one which will determine how the Bucs go about addressing the need for more cornerbacks in 2020.
WHAT’S THE COST?
No whispers just yet of what Ryan is going to want in free-agency, that I’ve found at the time of this writing anyway.
But our friends over at spotrac.com don’t have a market value for him. But they do have one for pending Dallas Cowboys free-agent, Byron Jones. The value they have on Jones, is around $14.1M per year, on a five year deal.
If Jones is setting the market this off-season, then Ryan will come in lower, but not by much I expect. Given the way he performed on his three-year $30M deal, and the fact he’s not looking like he’s slowing down as he nears thirty years of age, it’s reasonable to think Ryan could demand as much as $12M per year on another three-year deal.
Of course, once teams enter the negotiation process, competition works in the player’s favor. So, it’s entirely possible Jones could actual draw closer to $15M while Ryan gets upwards of around $13M because of the demand.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
There are some who think Ryan will be more attracted to a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, who play in a stadium not far from where the cornerback grew up.
But I think Ryan is more interested in a combination of money and opportunity than he is in nostalgic appeal.
Of the teams in the Top-10 in cap space, the Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to be the most poised for a post-season push in 2020.
Only the Colts and Bucs are Top-3 in cap space, and could therefore offer more money up-front and even potentially in total, while providing Ryan a team he could thrive on with a chance of continuing his impressive career of post-season exposure.
Which does he covet more? That’s the biggest question which will decide what team’s he visits first, and ultimately, which team he plays for in 2020.
MAKE THE DECISION
As we have been doing, we’re putting the final decision on you. I’d put a ‘never say never’ chance of Ryan lasting past the first week of free-agency. Odds are he’ll be one of the hottest players pursued in the legal tampering period as well.
So, option four seems to be out of the question, and option five only exists if you are truly comfortable with Davis, Dean and Murphy-Bunting as your Top-3 corners, meaning the Bucs will fill the group from the bottom.
Would you go all out? Or just sit down and gauge interest towards working a potential deal? The call is yours, so let us know what you’d do, if you were running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When it comes to Ereck Flowers, what would you have the Buccaneers do?
This poll is closed
Sign him, no matter what.
Make an offer, but keep it reasonable.
Invite him for a cup of coffee and see where it goes from there.
Call him up if there’s a need after the draft.
Don’t need him.
*According to spotrac.com