Logan Ryan: 2017 Patriots Free Agency Series

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It is never too early to start looking ahead to 2017. With over a dozen restricted and unrestricted free agents this offseason, the Patriots' roster will look very different next fall. Each week I will take a closer look at one or two of these players and see where they fit in 2017. All contract figures associated with the Patriots were compiled on my own and with the help Miguel Benzan of, but any numbers for players or teams outside of New England are sourced from and

#26 Logan Ryan -€” Cornerback

The Patriots selected Logan Ryan with the 83rd overall pick (3rd round) in the 2013 NFL Draft, 8 spots ahead of his secondary-mate and fellow Rutgers alum Duron Harmon. He made an immediate impact as a rookie, playing in all 16 games (starting in 7 of them) and racking up 35 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 10 passes defended. He also pitched in with a 1.5 sacks, a forced fumbled, and he took one of his picks to the house for a 79-yard TD.

In 2014, Ryan was relegated to the slot after the high-profile additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, but was still active for all 16 games in the regular season. Following the team's Super Bowl victory and subsequent release of Revis and Browner, Ryan was vaulted into a starting role on the outside in the 2015 season. Although always a willing tackler, Ryan cemented himself among the league's best at the position in 2015, being credited with 74 stops.

His 2015 PFF grade of 81.6 was the highest of his career until this season, where it currently sits at 85.0, ranking him 12th in the league. After a slow start to the season which saw second-year corner Eric Rowe pilfer a portion of his starting snaps, Ryan has turned it on down the stretch.

In his best performance as a Patriot, he dominated this past weekend's Divisional round game against the Texans. He allowed 3 catches for 9 yards with an interception and 2 pass break-ups on 6 targets. He also added 7 tackles and a sack.

The New Jersey native has been on the 46-man active game day roster every week of his entire 4-year professional career.

Career Cash earned to date (4 seasons) -€” $3,771,732

Ryan signed his 4-year $2.77 million rookie deal in 2013. Like Duron Harmon, his snap percentage totals from 2014 and 2015 qualified him to earn the Proven Performance Escalator, increasing his 2016 salary from $675,000 to $1,665,000.

Free agency outlook -€” Logan Ryan couldn't be hitting the market at a better time. The team salary cap is projected to increase to around $168-170 million in 2017. The market for free agent corners has exploded in recent years. Combining those two factors with Ryan's production (especially as of late) and durability, along with his "winning organization" pedigree, creates the optimal environment for him to paid as a team's top corner.

Although New England will be able to, in theory, offer Ryan any contract they want (due to their cap space flexibility), the thought here is that they will let him go once he fields stronger offers from other cornerback-needy organizations. With Malcom Butler hitting restricted free agency this offseason, and resources already being heavily invested in the secondary (McCourty), the Patriots simply will not pay "CB1"-type money to more than one player.

Other notable names atop the 2017 free agent cornerback class include Trumaine Johnson, Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye, Morris Claiborne, and Prince Amukamara.

Projected contract comparisons -

Low end: Robert Alford, Atlanta Falcons -€” 4 years, $38 million, $21 million guaranteed.

High end: Darius Slay, Detroit Lions -€” 4 years, $48.15 million, $23.1 million guaranteed.

Just right: Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens -€” 4 years, $41.1 million, $21 million guaranteed.

Potential landing spot -€” Tennessee Titans

The Titans will have the ability to be a major player in the 2017 Free Agency period. With approximately $70 million in cap space, former Patriots Director of College Scouting and current Tennessee Titans GM and Executive Vice President Jon Robinson likely will be making another attempt to stabilize a secondary that tied for the 2nd most passing yards allowed per game in 2016. With last season's 3-year $15 million signing of Perrish Cox proving to be a disaster (Cox was cut in week 13), Robinson could decide that a higher profile move needs to be made.

The Titans are a team on the cusp of taking the next step. Led by Marcus Mariota and a powerful rushing attack on offense, and a front seven that tallied 40 sacks and ranked 2nd against the run in 2016, the addition of Ryan to unit anchored by Jason McCourty and Da'Norris Searcy could be seen as the answer in Nashville.

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter - @b7phillips

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