When New York Giants rookie Xavier McKinney suffered a fractured foot during training camp this past off-season, the immediate thought was, â€œhow do we solve this problem?â€
McKinney was expected to fill a key role on defense, specifically at free safety. As a player at Alabama, McKinney was the highest-rated safety on the 2020 NFL draft board, and he fell all the way to the second round right into the lap of the Giants. His tenacity as a run stopper and ability to cover the field with great game speed made Xavier a premium prospect entering the NFL, and the Giants desperately needed to upgrade the position. His loss through 10 weeks has been masked by one man, Logan Ryan.
When McKinney went down, the Giants immediately engaged in talks with Ryan, signing him to a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million. He received a $3.5 million signing bonus with the remainder of his deal consisting of bonuses and escalators.
So far, Ryan has been a key defender for Big Blue, racking up 59 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, seven passes defended, two forced fumbles, and an interception. He has allowed a 60.5% completion rate and just one touchdown. His biggest weakness has been tackling, missing almost 12% of his tackles, but making the transition to safety was always going to have hiccups.
Ultimately, Ryan believes he can be the best safety in the NFL, and heâ€™s proving with this transition that heâ€™s more than capable of holding the position down.
â€œI think I can be the best safety in football,â€ said Ryan. â€œIâ€™m working on that.â€
He has played alongside SS Jabrill Peppers and FS Julian Love in the deeper portion of the field. His ability to communicate with the younger, more inexperienced players has been integral in the Giantsâ€™ recent success, considering they have won their last two games.
Just two weeks ago against Washington, Ryan discovered that his wife was suffering through an ectopic pregnancy, which was a life-threatening issue. Luckily, a Giants medical staff member helped diagnose the problem, and she underwent emergency surgery, likely saving her life. Ryan dedicated the win over Washington to her, securing the game with a last-second interception.
The New York Giants should extend the veteran defender:
This season for Logan almost seems like a storybook, and the ending should result in an extension by the Giants. While they do have McKinney and Peppers preparing to lead their safety duo, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham loves utilizing three safety looks and making it a permanent factor on defense could be the reality considering how well Ryan has played.
There is no doubt that the former Tennessee Titan has been one of the best defenders for the Giants through 10 weeks, and as he continues to find his rhythm at his new position, he should only improve in stature and quality. If the Giants are willing to offer him a three-year extension at around $8 million per season, they shouldnâ€™t wait too much longer to get it done.