The New York Jets are close to signing a two-time Super Bowl champion.
New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta reported that the Jets and Ryan were very close to a deal, according to an anonymous source of Mehta’s.
According to the story, the Jets will sign Ryan to a one-year deal after the safety recently left the Tennessee Titans, who made the AFC Championship game in 2019 with Ryan as a starter.
BREAKING: Jets believe that they will sign former Patriots & Titans defensive back Logan Ryan to a one-year deal, per sources.
Smart move by Joe Douglas.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 12, 2020
Time with the Titans
Ryan’s departure from Nashville couldn’t be called controversial, but it was a goodbye with an extra emotional punch after Ryan explained his side of the transaction to fellow NFL defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty.
“It’s just a business,” Ryan said on Devin and Jason McCourty’s “Double Coverage” podcast this week. “This time it’s a little different. Tennessee really never offered me a contract. They never really talked extension or free agency. They never really tried to bring me back. It was kind of the whole ‘you know, we’ll monitor the market, you’re probably going to get too much and we probably can’t afford because we got a lot of players on this team.’”
Ryan never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro selection after joining the Titans on a three-year, $30 million contract in 2017, but started 50 of 53 total games for Tennessee, including five playoff games.
After not recording an interception for in his first two seasons with the Titans, Ryan totaled four in 2019 while also adding a career-high in passes defended with 18. The number was third in the NFL.
Remember when Logan Ryan has a pick 6 for Tom Brady’s last pass as a patriot? I do. pic.twitter.com/PDPdOH5oXI
— Barstool Are Dee Tee (@editti22) March 17, 2020
A Flexible Veteran
Ryan turned 29 in late February, making him a seasoned veteran but one that likely still has a handful of years left as an NFL starter.
After graduating from Rutgers, Ryan came into the NFL as a third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft with the New England Patriots. During his time with the Patriots and Titans, Ryan played a mix of zone and man-coverage, but it’s the latter that he’ll need in New York.
Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams plays an aggressive man-defense that also rotates defensive backs and linebackers, which means that Ryan’s flexibility could make him a versatile player with Williams making the decisions.
Way back in 2014, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked about Ryan’s ability to play across the secondary.
“I think, we’ll have to see how it all goes,” Belichick said. “Last year [Marquice] Cole sort of did that, played some safety, played some nickel corner, played a little bit on the perimeter. Logan did that. We’ll have to see how it all comes together, but I would imagine in the spring that we probably give those guys some exposure.”
Ryan didn’t end up switching to safety full-time in that 2014 season, but maintained his starting job with relative ease.
Expectations as a Jet
Mehta did not report any details about the potential contract that the Jets would sign Ryan to, but there’s no reason to expect to be anything less than a starter’s contract.
Ryan will likely slide in as the No. 1 starting corner, leaving CBs Pierre Desir and Bless Austin to battle for the No. 2 spot. However, Ryan is likely the most reliable option that the Jets have at any spot, so it’s reasonable to think that he’ll take on the more-lethal slot receivers when they line up against the Jets defense.
That being said, safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have been a powerful tandem since Maye became the starter as a rookie in 2017, so Ryan will likely be sticking at corner, at least to start.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.