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  • Logan Ryan’s solid play as he helped the Patriots become Super Bowl champs landed him a reported three-year, $30 million deal to join the Titans’ secondary.
By Chris Burke
March 10, 2017

GRADE: B

Everything has worked out quite well for Logan Ryan these past few months. After struggling as the Patriots’ No. 2 cornerback opposite Malcolm Butler, he moved into more of a slot role and, from there, not only helped New England capture a Super Bowl title but played himself into a prime free agency position.

He made the most of that boost Thursday, reportedly signing a deal with the Tennessee Titans. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, Ryan will receive a three-year, $30 million deal (no word yet on the guaranteed money).

The $10 million-per-year falls shy of what the Patriots handed ex-Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore earlier in the day (five years, $65 million). Gilmore’s jackpot would have made it difficult for the Patriots to squeeze in Ryan’s contract, too, especially since New England is still trying to convince LB Dont’a Hightower to re-sign.

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Swirling trade rumors about the Patriots’ other big-ticket cornerback, Malcolm Butler, did leave the door open a crack for Ryan’s return—Butler has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender, and he cannot be traded until he does so. With Ryan out of the mix, New England is more likely to retain Butler.

The Titans, meanwhile, will move forward this off-season feeling quite a bit more comfortable with their cornerback situation. The CB spot loomed as a major area of concern off a 2016 season that saw Tennessee rank 30th against the pass. Save for Jason McCourty, the Titans were painfully shy of talent. And even McCourty, now 29, played as if his best days might be behind him.

Ryan will help. Although, as the Patriots found out last season, the 26-year-old cornerback may be best suited to a mix-and-match role with a heavy emphasis on slot play. If they want to plant Ryan on the boundary, the Titans will need to bring in another corner or two—the draft being an obvious spot to look.

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It’s at least a slim possibility that the Titans swap out McCourty for Ryan. The former has one year at $7 million left on his contract, but with no guaranteed money—the Titans could save that entire $7 million by cutting him loose. An extension also could be the play, if Tennessee wants to keep McCourty around.

No matter the outcome there, Ryan will be pressed into a significant role in the secondary. A contract of $10 million per year would place Ryan in the top 15 among all NFL cornerbacks, ahead of the $8.6 million McCourty averaged over the entirety of his deal.

Ryan earned that rich an offer with his play down the stretch and in the playoffs last season. He will have to prove that 2016 wasn’t just a contract-year showcase, aided by the talent around him in the Patriots’ defense. But if he can maintain that work he did late in 2016, the Titans will have added a much-needed playmaking presence in the secondary.

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