The New York Giants got so much more than they asked for with Logan Ryan

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When the New York Giants originally signed Logan Ryan to a one-year deal after rookie Xavier McKinney suffered a broken foot in training camp last year, they didn’t anticipate the impact the veteran defensive back would have on defense.

Ryan, having spent seven years in the NFL with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, brought a wealth of experience to a young Giants defense in need of a leader. Ryan not only provided stellar defensive production last year but offered his wisdom to youngsters like McKinney and a rotation of corners at CB2. Ryan covered up many of the deficiencies the defense portrayed in 2020, utilizing a unique disguised safety strategy to confuse opposing play-callers and quarterbacks.

However, the Giants viewed the veteran as an integral piece to the puzzle this off-season, rewarding him with a three-year, $31 million deal with $20 million in guaranteed money. When looking at the contract, the Giants structured it with an out after the 2022 season, which would count just $1.5 million in dead money if Ryan takes a significant step backward, which would be a surprise in reality based on his efficiency last year.

How did Logan Ryan impact the New York Giants’ defense?

From a statistical standpoint, Ryan finished with 94 combined tackles, 4.0 QB hits, 1.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 9 passes defended, and 1 interception. He played in 96% of defensive snaps as a primary safety for Big Blue but displayed versatility moving up into the box and stopping the run adequately. According to PFF, Ryan enjoyed 246 snaps in the box, 221 at slot corner, and 512 at free safety. That type of flexibility is valuable for a defense, especially with weaknesses and the sudden reality of injuries in the NFL.

Ryan displayed many different utilities that convinced management to extend him, but his growth doesn’t end here, as he sought outward support from former Giants players to gauge their opinion on further development.

Logan took it upon himself to not only improve his play on the field but to also gauge the opinions of Giants greats from the past, looking to entrench himself in the conversation:

“I reached out personally this year to Antrel Rolle, I reached out to Jason Sehorn, and I reached out to Corey Webster,” Ryan said. “I reached out to those guys and said, ‘Hey, I want to pick your brain and be great like you. I respect what you have done in the past. Can you give me anything?'”

“All those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary, and they were willing and eager to help out,” Ryan said. “They were thankful that I reached out to try to build the bridge between the current secondary and former greats. I want to be like them and lead those units, and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player. I’m an empty cup. They are filling it up, and I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud.”

This is a clear act of leadership from a stoic leader that represents a vastly different player compared to the likes of Antoine Bethea, who was asked to play a similar role under James Bettcher.
Ryan wore many hats this offseason, playing recruiter in the signing of Adoree’ Jackson and teacher as he curated training sessions down in Tampa with the secondary. The former Titan desires to be considered a ‘Giants Great,’ and while he might be a long way away from that reality, he’s undoubtedly on the right track.
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