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Logan Ryan is the Patriots’ 2nd most important free agent

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After Dont’a Hightower, the Patriots CB may be the 2nd biggest priority to re-sign.

The Patriots have a lot of free agents they have to take care of, and they have the cap space to do it. Dont’a Hightower is the Patriots’ biggest priority because he’s the signal caller and the captain. Next on that list is probably a name that isn’t talked about much and that’s CB Logan Ryan. Ryan was originally drafted by the Patriots in the 2013 draft and has established himself as the 2nd best player from that class behind Jamie Collins, who is now with the Browns.

The Patriots haven’t had a lot of their young talent stick around for a second contract due to the free agent market prices, and some simply not panning out. McCourty is the one player since 2010 that’s accepted a 2nd contract with the team. Part of that is because the Patriots didn’t want to lose a valued captain, so they upped the guaranteed money. The Patriots only play top of the end money for players that are at the top of their position, although Ryan probably isn’t seeking that amount.

Ryan was easily the Patriots top corner in the postseason. His assignments were DeAndre Hopkins, Eli Rogers, and Mohammed Sanu. Do you remember what those three did against against the Patriots? Those three did pretty much nothing in their postseason losses as Logan Ryan had blanket coverage all game. Combined, those 3 receivers had 15 catches for 156 yards and 0 TD against the Patriots. Not every catch came against Ryan in coverage, as the Patriots played a lot of zone defense against the Texans and Steelers since they were up 3 scores in the 4th quarter in each game. The fact that none of those players scored touchdowns or were a big factor in their game is all I need to know.

Ryan isn’t the best athlete at the CB position in terms of straight-line speed, but everything else is excellent. Ryan is a student of the game, spending hours studying film to find out tendencies, tells, and weaknesses of any player he’s likely covering. In addition, he’s very good at sticking with the receiver on change of direction routes, tackling, and playing the ball. Ryan puts all the work in to make himself the best player he can be. Some weeks, Ryan may be the CB2, others he might be the CB1. The Patriots scheme doesn’t have receivers shadowing in a 1, 2, 3 priority, but rather eliminating match-ups. Ryan isn’t going to be asked to cover players that run sub 4.4 40s.

This is my proposed deal for Logan Ryan:

The deal pays Ryan top-end CB2 money, although as I mentioned before, he’s not a CB2 every week. The average is just over $8M per season, which is the most amount I’m comfortable with the Patriots paying up to $9M to keep him around. After the 3rd and 4th years, I put in roster options on the the first day of those corresponding league years since the Patriots like to do that. While the length of the deal is 5, the bottom of the picture is important. Those the terms to the deal should the option not be exercised in Years 4 or 5. I think it’s a fair deal for both sides, although if you really want to make it interesting, the deal can be less front-loaded to make the cap numbers for Years 1-3 less than the average.