New York Giants defensive back Logan Ryan has found a new long-term home by coming home.
The New Jersey native who played his college ball at Rutgers took a gamble by signing a one-year deal worth $5.050 million after a lengthy free agency process drew to a close following training camp.
But Ryan quickly adapted to the Giants defense to emerged as a key leader both on and off the field, proving to be worth every single penny of that initial contract.
As such, the Giants and Ryan agreed to a three-year contract extension worth a reported $31 million with $20 million guaranteed.
Ryan, who has familiarity with head coach Joe Judge from their days together in New England, has been nothing short of spectacular for the Giants both on and off the field.
On the field, Ryan, who converted to safety, has been a critical chess piece who has lined up on the defensive line, in the box, the slot, wide corner, and free safety as needed.
Receivers are averaging 10.2 yards per catch against Ryan, a figure that matches his career-best set in 2016 with the Patriots. He’s also only allowed two touchdowns this season, which, if it holds, would be a career-low.
“I think Logan’s a guy who comes to work every day with the right demeanor," Judge said not long after the Giants initially signed Ryan.
"He’s a smart guy that plays tough on the field. He’s a player that I noticed through my time with him and then also my time away competing against him that he’s a guy that really improves from year to year. He really works on his craft. He’s not just a guy who’s out there, kind of ‘this is what I am.’ He’s always looking to work on maybe something that hurt him the year before and he’s looking to always go ahead and improve on his strengths.”
Ryan is a well-respected team leader and a media favorite who always has his finger on the team's pulse. Thoughtful in crafting his answers, he opened up last month to share the tragic tale of his wife's ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in the loss of their unborn child and nearly claimed the life of his wife, Ashley.
Ryan, whose contract is now signed, sealed, and delivered, expressed his gratitude to the Giants for taking the chance on him.
"I really took a bet on myself waiting as long as I did and signing a one-year deal," he said in a team-issued statement.
"I just wanted to prove to the fan base, the coaching staff and my teammates what type of player and leader I can be. And I honestly think I was proving it to myself as well. This year has been about a lot of belief. I always believed in myself and held my head high and worked out for me in the end and it worked out for the team in the end. I think it was a perfect fit from the beginning."
Earlier this season, Ryan was announced as an "Art Rooney Award" candidate. The Art Rooney Award, founded in 2015 and named after the Pittsburgh Steelers' founding owner, recognizes outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field.
"He's just a phenomenal person," Judge said when Ryan's nomination was announced. "He's always been very direct, very honest. He's just a genuine person. ... He's a great vet to have in our locker room. You talk about guys who can lead by example. He's definitely a guy who comes in every day and works his absolute hardest. He empties the tank, and we couldn't ask for anything more from him."
Ryan had been leading this year's Pro Bowl voting at safety but lost out in the final days of the voting to Seattle's Quandre Diggs. While Ryan had hoped to earn the Pro Bowl recognition for the first time in his career, he also tried to keep things into perspective.
"I think [I’m] in first place by just being a team-first player," Ryan told the media earlier this week.
"I’m not really chasing stats, I’m trying to do whatever job the team asks me to do that week. I’m definitely trying to lead and inspire no matter what adversity I face this year on and off the field, no matter what our record states. I’m trying to give my best."
He'll get to continue delivering his best to the Giants for another three years.