Tampa Bay BuccaneersVeteran safety Logan Ryan missed the middle of his debut season in Tampa with a foot injury but was a significant part of the Bucs' defensive schemes when healthy…He's due to become a free agent on WednesdayScott Smith
Logan Ryan has played 10 years in the NFL so far. After four seasons with the team that originally drafted him in 2013, the New England Patriots, he signed with the Tennessee Titans and spent three seasons in Nashville. After becoming an unrestricted free agent for a second time, Ryan bounced to New York and played two seasons with the Giants. Finally, in 2022, he found himself in Florida and, to this point, has logged one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That's a nice little 4-3-2-1 pattern, but assuming he wishes to continue his playing career into a second decade - and his production before a 2022 season marred by injuries suggest he certainly could - he's going to break it by either spending a second year in Tampa or going to a fifth team. Ryan is due to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
The Buccaneers signed Ryan in part because they liked the versatility that has led to him starting at outside corner, slot corner and safety in his career, and also because they wanted to test out the versatility of a safety already on their roster. The plan for third-year player Antoine Winfield Jr., coming off his first Pro Bowl season in 2021, was to let him start at safety in the base defense but move into the slot in sub packages. That required a third safety - after the departure of Jordan Whitehead in free agency - to come into the game and play next to Mike Edwards when Winfield was up near the line of scrimmage. The Buccaneers also signed veteran safety Keanu Neal, but it was Ryan who started in that role when the regular season began.
How will the Buccaneers' secondary look in 2023? That's hard to say in mid-March because five of its regulars are about to become unrestricted free agents, including Ryan, Neal and Edwards. The Bucs could also lose cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. Would Ryan's veteran presence help, and are the team and player motivated to stay together for a second year?
That's a question for the weeks ahead as free agency begins and fates are decided for the 22 pending unrestricted free agents the Bucs have from last year's roster (not counting the retired Tom Brady). Clearly, the Bucs have a lot to sort through as the new league year looms and close to two dozen players are close to becoming unrestricted free agents.
Roster turnover from season to season is a given in the NFL and it's certain that the Bucs won't be able to retain all of those potential free agents, but they will surely try to retain as much talent as possible, especially homegrown talent. And so, in the weeks leading up to the start of the new league year, we are looking at 10 players who are currently poised to become unrestricted free agents. This is the full schedule of our 2023 Free Agent Focus rundown:
February 15: WR Julio Jones
February 17: ILB Lavonte David
February 22: OLB Anthony Nelson
February 24: CB Jamel Dean
March 1: S Mike Edwards
March 3: DL Will Gholston
March 8: CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
March 10: DL Akiem Hicks
March 14: S Logan Ryan
March 15: OLB Carl Nassib
As our Free Agent Focus rundown nears the end, we look at another of those five pending UFAs in the secondary.
Player: Logan Ryan
Age at the Start of the 2023 Season: 32
Experience: Entering 11th NFL season
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent in March of 2022
Previous Contract(s): Played first four seasons on the standard rookie contract after being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by the New England Patriots. Signed and completed a three-year deal as an unrestricted free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2017. Signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent with the New York Giants in 2020, then agreed to an extension through the 2023 season. He was released following the 2021 campaign after two seasons with the Giants.
Rank in Pro Football Focus Top 100 NFL Free Agents for 2023: Not listed.
2022 Performance: Ryan started his first game as a Buccaneer when the defense opened in a nickel package in the Week One contest at Dallas. He played 71% of the defensive snaps over the first three contests before suffering a foot injury against Kansas City in Week Four that would cause him to miss most of the middle of the season. He was inactive for two games, then was moved to injured reserve, where he stayed for five more outings. Upon his return, he immediately started the next four games as both Edwards and Winfield missed a couple weeks due to their own injuries.
In all, Ryan appeared in nine games with six starts during the regular season. He recorded 37 tackles, including one for a loss, and had one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Ryan recorded his lone interception of the season and two of his three passes defensed during the Bucs' first three games, prior to his injury.
Ryan also played in the postseason game against Dallas and contributed two tackles.
Career Accomplishments: Ryan has spent the first 10 seasons of his career filling up every column on his stat line with impressive numbers. Most notably, he and Malcolm Jenkins are the only two players in the NFL who accumulated at least 15 interceptions, at least 10 sacks and at least 10 forced fumbles in that span.
A third-round draft pick by the Patriots, Ryan started 40 games at cornerback over his first four seasons and proved to be a ball hawk, with 13 interceptions, which tied for 12th in the NFL in that span, and 41 passes defensed. During those four seasons, Ryan also won two Super Bowl championship rings.
After signing with the Titans, Ryan saw regular action in the slot and proved to be a very effective blitzer as well. He tallied 4.0 sacks in 2018 and then another 4.5 in 2019. Ryan also snared four interceptions and forced four fumbles to go with that impressive sack total.
In New York, Ryan proved to be a versatile chess piece for the Giants' coaches, logging more than 200 snaps at three different positions: free safety, box safety and slot corner. Over those two seasons he racked up 211 tackles, one interception, 17 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 2.0 sacks and seven QB hits. Overall, in 10 seasons, the former Rutgers star has amassed 742 tackles, 13.0 sacks, 26 QB hits, 19 tackles for loss, 19 interceptions, 98 passes defensed, 15 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Other Potential Free Agent Safeties: Jessie Bates (Bengals), Jordan Poyer (Bills), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Eagles), Vonn Bell (Bengals), Jimmie Ward (49ers), Taylor Rapp (Rams), Julian Love (Giants), Juan Thornhill (Chiefs), Donovan Wilson (Cowboys), Adrian Amos (Packers), Rodney McLeod (Colts), Devin McCourty (Patriots), Marcus Epps (Eagles), Duron Harmon (Raiders), Eric Row (Dolphins), LaMarcus Joyner (Jets), Terrell Edmunds (Steelers), Nassir Adderley (Chargers)
Top Safety Prospects in 2023 NFL Draft: Brian Branch (Alabama), Antonio Johnson (Texas A&M), Jammie Robinson (Florida State), J.L. Skinner (Boise State), Sydney Brown (Illinois), Jordan Battle (Alabama), Ji'Ayir Brown (Penn State), Christopher Smith (Georgia), Brandon Joseph (Notre Dame), Jartavius Martin (Illinois), Ronnie Hickman (Ohio State), Rashad Torrence (Florida)