Logan Ryan

Titans Place Logan Ryan On IR

It’s official now. On Tuesday, the Titans placed cornerback Logan Ryan on season-ending injured reserve. 

Ryan suffered a broken fibula on Sunday, which automatically 86’d him for the season. It’s a bad blow for the Titans, who are still fighting for a playoff spot with two games remaining in the regular season. Through 15 weeks of action, the 27-year-old had a career high of four sacks plus 76 tackles and eight passes defensed.

Without Ryan, the Titans will need some vintage performances from Malcolm Butler and quality support from reserves Leshaun Sims and Joshua Kalu. Adoree’ Jackson, who is having the best season of any Titans corner, now stands as the club’s unquestioned CB1.

To help fill the void, the Titans promoted cornerback Kenneth Durden from the practice squad to the active roster. Durden, 26, appeared in five games for the Titans earlier this year, and those contests represent the entirety of his NFL experience.

The Titans, without Ryan, face the Redskins this week before a crucial showdown with the Colts in Week 17.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans CB Logan Ryan Suffers Broken Fibula

Titans cornerback Logan Ryan announced that he suffered a broken fibula on Sunday (Twitter link). The injury will shut him down for the final two games of the season and the playoffs, should the Titans make it, but he vows to come back strong in 2019. 

Ryan joined the Titans on a three-year, $30MM contract prior to the 2017 season and has been a fixture in the starting lineup ever since. This year, the 27-year-old recorded a career high of four sacks to go along with his 76 tackles and eight passes defensed. He presently ranks as the No. 38 ranked cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, which isn’t too far behind teammate Adoree’ Jackson.

Without Ryan, the Titans will lean more on fellow ex-Patriot Malcolm Butler. Leshaun Sims and Joshua Kalu are also on hand for support, but the Titans will probably add another CB to bolster their depth.

The Titans kept their playoff hopes alive on Sunday with their 17-0 victory over the Giants. They now have a 46% chance of making the playoffs and are still clinging to an 8% chance of overtaking the Texans for the divisional lead, according to FiveThirtyEight. They don’t technically control their own destiny, but wins over the Redskins and Colts would probably give them a Wild Card spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ryan, Jets, Texans

Since signing his three-year, $30MM contract with the Titans earlier this offseason, cornerback Logan Ryan has already used a chunk of that money to pay off his brother’s student loans. As Marissa Payne of the Washington Post writes, the former Patriots defensive back paid off the entirety of the $82,000 left on the loans.

“My man got accepted to college, graduated with honors, and now works as an engineer,” Ryan wrote on Instagram. “He did everything the right way and still lives with a ridiculous amount of student loan debt. The system is broke and makes no sense!! I’m Fortunate and blessed to be able to take care of that for him.”

The 26-year-old joined Tennessee this offseason after spending four seasons with the Patriots. The former third-rounder hasn’t missed a regular season game during his four-year career, and he’s averaged more than three interceptions and 10 passes defended per year. Roster Resource has Ryan slotted in as the Titans’ starting cornerback with Adoree’ Jackson.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Undrafted rookie lineman Chris Bordelon has a chance to make the Jets regular season roster, writes Connor Hughes of NJ.com. The Nicholls State product can move around the offensive line, and his versatility might earn him a reserve role with the squad. Hughes also lists wide receivers K.D. Cannon and Gabe Marks, fullback Anthony Firkser, cornerback Xavier Coleman, and linebacker Connor Harris as other undrafted rookies who could crack the 53-man roster.
  • Texans rookie offensive lineman Julién Davenport could be in line for a large role this season, and coach Bill O’Brien already likes what he’s seen from the fourth-rounder. “I like Julién,” O’Brien told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He’s a rookie, so they’re all learning. It’s tough in no pads. I think the true test for a lineman is when the full pads are on in camp, but so far he’s smart, he works hard, he’s got a good skillset for that position. So far, so good, but again the true test for lineman is when they put pads on.”
  • Our Offseason in Review series is underway, and we’ve already taken a look at six AFC teams, including the Bills, Texans, Browns, Broncos, Bengals, and Titans.

Titans To Sign Logan Ryan

Another big-name cornerback is coming off the market: The Titans have agreed to a deal with Logan Ryan, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). It’s a three-year, $30MM pact, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

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The 26-year-old Ryan is the second major addition the Titans have made to the secondary on the first day of the 2017 league year. The team previously agreed to a deal with safety Jonathan Cyprien.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson is already quite familiar with Ryan, whom the executive had a large hand in drafting back in 2013. Robinson was then the director of college scouting for the Patriots, with whom Ryan won two Super Bowls during the first four years of his career.

Although Ryan thrived in New England, it became obvious a parting of ways was in the offing when the reigning champions inked fellow corner Stephon Gilmore to a mega-deal earlier Thursday. But the Patriots’ loss will be a sizable gain for the Titans, who ranked 26th in DVOA against the pass and 30th in aerial yardage allowed last year. At the same time, Ryan registered his fourth straight 16-appearance season and tallied 92 tackles and two interceptions across 13 starts. His performance ranked a stellar 16th among Pro Football Focus’ 112 qualified corners.

With 2016 factored in, Ryan has racked up 40 starts and 13 picks in his career. The ex-Rutgers star will now join college teammate Jason McCourty and Brice McCain, among other corners, in Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Sign CB Stephon Gilmore

The Patriots are making big moves this week. New England will sign cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal is expected to come in at more than $14MM/year, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, but the length of the pact is not yet clear. "<strong

This deal spells the end of free agent Logan Ryan‘s time with the team, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. In theory, Gilmore and Ryan could have formed one of league’s premier CB duos, but that would have been extremely costly for the Pats. I have Ryan ranked No. 6 on my Top 50 Free Agents list, which ranks players in terms of projected earning power. Gilmore was not far behind at No. 10.

Malcolm Butler, on the other hand, should still be returning to New England. This week, the Pats applied the first-round tender to the cornerback. In theory, another club could sign him to an offer sheet and forfeit a first-round choice if the Pats choose not to match. We’re not so sure Butler will be worth all of that for interested clubs.

The Bears made a strong push for Gilmore this week and the Bills were also working to re-sign him. Buffalo could have retained Gilmore with the franchise tag, but the team felt that the one-year tender for corners was too pricey. They allowed Gilmore to test the open market and they may or may not regret that decision today.

Gilmore did not play up to his ability in 2016 and some have speculated that he was playing it safe in his contract year. Others have wondered if Gilmore simply slipped as the Bills’ entire defense slumped.

The former first-rounder has started 66 games since entering the league in 2012. This year, he had a career-high five interceptions, but Pro Football Focus ranked him only 61st among 112 qualifying corners. Despite the so-so year, Gilmore still ranked as our third-best available free agent cornerback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

It’s free agency week! This year, thanks to the salary cap increase, the dollars will be flying and players will make more than you ever could have expected. Our lists for offense and defense rank free agents based on overall ability, but our Top 50 ranks players based on earning power. Here, you’ll get a good sense of what the market will be like this week and who the big fish are.

The league’s “legal tampering” window will open on Tuesday at 11:00am CT. Technically, teams and players aren’t permitted to finalize agreements on contracts during that legal tampering window, but that’s often treated as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. We will almost certainly see handshake agreements go down on Tuesday and Wednesday before they become official on Thursday, the technical beginning of free agency.

Our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents doesn’t include restricted free agents, or franchise tagged players, since they’re effectively restricted free agents as well.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2017, along with a few predictions on how much they might earn and what teams could be in the mix to sign them:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB (Texans): Bouye is an overnight sensation, going from unknown to elite talent in the blink of an eye. No one knows exactly what to make of Bouye, but his upside is too much for teams to pass up. The Texans declined to use the franchise tag on the 25-year-old (26 in August), but they’re still hoping to get a deal done this week. The Jets are said to have interest, but it’s not clear if they’ll have the room to get something done. Cornerback-needy teams like the Panthers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans, Bears, and Eagles can be expected to at least kick the tires on this year’s top player in the secondary. Could something like Janoris Jenkins‘ five year, $62.5MM contract ($28.8MM fully guaranteed) from last year be within reach? Jenkins had a longer history of success than Bouye, but consider these facts: Bouye nearly two years younger than Jenkins was at time of signing and the salary cap has risen by about $12MM.
Signed with Jaguars for five years, $67.5MM.A.J. Bouye (vertical)

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): He was hurt for most of 2015 and he slumped along with the entire Bears offense in 2016, but his natural ability is still evident and he is a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. At one point, it seemed like Jeffery could wind up as the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. That won’t be the case, but he will likely get more cash than any other wide receiver in this year’s class. The Eagles and Titans have been hot on his tail for some time now. The 49ers could also get involved and a return to the Bears cannot be ruled out either. Ultimately, Jeffery should wind up fetching at least $10MM per year and perhaps as much as $12MM per year on his next deal.
Signed with Eagles for one year, $9.5MM.

3. Kenny Stills, WR (Dolphins): Jeffery isn’t the only wide receiver who could fetch $12MM per year. Stills isn’t necessarily the best wide receiver on his own team, but he is just on the cusp of his 25th birthday and his ability to stretch the field is tantalizing. It doesn’t sound like the Dolphins are ready to be the highest bidder for his services and it’s not hard to imagine a team like the Eagles landing him. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential suitors for Jeffery and Stills: the Eagles, Titans, Bears, and 49ers will probably come calling. The Rams may not have enough room to squeeze in Stills, but they could certainly use a playmaker like him if they do not re-sign Kenny Britt. Stills reportedly likes the West Coast (who doesn’t?) so the Niners and Rams could have a leg up on the others if the bidding is close.
Re-signed with Dolphins for four years, $32MM.

4. Dont’a Hightower, LB (Patriots): The market is capped for non-rush linebackers, but Hightower is pretty much the best at what he does and is also lauded for his intangibles. The Patriots have always embraced the “next man up” philosophy, so it is possible they will allow him to go elsewhere. The Dolphins have been frequently connected to Hightower, but that might be too ambitious for a team that has multiple major needs to address. The Colts might also make sense, but the price might be too rich for their blood. A Patriots return appears to be the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
Re-signed with Patriots for four years, $35.5MM. 

5. Kevin Zeitler, G (Bengals): Zeitler has age on his side and he’s one of the safest free agents in the top ten after three consecutive years of dominance. Interior offensive linemen don’t get as much love as their counterparts on the outside, but they are still incredibly vital and Zeitler’s next contract will reflect that. If he doesn’t circle back to the Bengals, the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers, and Seahawks all make varying degrees of sense for Zeitler. From a football standpoint, you can add the Jets to that group too, but I’m not sure they can meet a ~$12MM/year asking price.
Signed with Browns for five years, $60MM.

6. Logan Ryan, CB (Patriots): There are bigger names available at the cornerback position, but Ryan slots ahead of many of them after a career year. It also doesn’t hurt that this fresh-faced Super Bowl champ only just turned 26 in February. If the Patriots don’t tie him down, Ryan’s earning power could conceivably vault him past Trumaine Johnson in terms of guaranteed cash. The Jaguars and Titans would be wise to zero in on Ryan if they can’t land Bouye and it’s possible that some of their evaluators might even prefer Ryan over the Houston standout. Ryan’s next deal will probably pay him eight figures per year and it should be a lengthy pact.
Signed with Titans for three years, $30MM.

7. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Browns): There is strong mutual interest in a new deal between Pryor and the Browns. Still, the Browns passed on the opportunity to franchise tag the Ohio State product and he now appears poised to test the open market. With pretty much just one year to show, how will Pryor fare in free agency? His next deal should pay him at least $10MM/year and he could get up to $12MM/year. In addition to the Browns, the usual suspects for this year’s high-end WRs will explore signing Pryor (say it with me): Eagles, Titans, and 49ers. There’s conflicting word about whether the Steelers will get involved. The Giants are known to have interest, but I don’t think they’ll be splurging on free agents like they did one year ago.
Signed with Redskins for one year, $6MM.

8 .Ricky Wagner, OT (Ravens): There’s already talk of Wagner fetching around $10MM/year and it’s not like this year’s free agent market is flush with young, quality tackles. When you also consider the lack of quality tackles in the draft, it’s apparent that Wagner is about to get PAID, in all caps.Believe it or not, $10MM/year might be his floor. When all is said and done, he’ll be the league’s biggest earner at right tackle. The Bears are particularly interested in Wagner, so he could go from the AFC North to the NFC North this week.
Signed with Lions for five years, $47.5MM.

Calais Campbell (vertical)9. Calais Campbell, DL (Cardinals): Campbell was supposed to be an afterthought in Arizona after the addition of Chandler Jones. Perhaps motivated by a perceived slight, Campbell turned in a stellar year. Now, the Cardinals would very much like to keep him, but they can only go so far as they back up the Brinks truck for Jones and look into retaining other key free agents. If Jones does not agree to a cap-smoothing long-term deal between now and March 9th, the odds of Campbell leaving increase. The Jaguars are said to be a leading contender for Campbell while the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Bears could also use a force like him. His age (31 in September) gives him a bit of a ceiling in terms of overall compensation, but he should still do nicely this month.
Signed with Jaguars for four years, $60MM.

10. Stephon Gilmore, CB (Bills): In terms of pure talent, Gilmore might be the best cornerback available. Trouble is, no one knows what to make of him after a down 2016. Some have openly theorized that Gilmore was playing it safe to avoid injury in his pivotal contract year. It’s also possible that Buffalo’s injuries in the front seven put undue stress on the secondary. The Bears are reportedly high on Gilmore and he may represent a cheaper option than Bouye or Ryan. A Bills return would also make sense here.
Signed with Patriots for five years, $65MM.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as franchised players aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Pauline’s Latest: Savage, 49ers, Conley

Although some around the league reportedly believe the Texans are the best fit for quarterback Tony Romo, other front office members don’t see the fit, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. If Romo does land in Houston, the Texans could end up trading fellow signal-caller Tom Savage to the 49ers, per Pauline. San Francisco is known to be in the quarterback market, and have been tied to options like Mike Glennon, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Kirk Cousins.

Here’s more from Pauline:

  • A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore will ink new contracts and set the market for free agent cornerbacks before Logan Ryan and Dre Kirkpatrick sign deals, reports Pauline. Although Bouye is apparently far apart in talks with the Texans, a feeling exists that he could re-sign with Houston at a cost of $12MM per season. Ryan and Kirkpatrick, PFR’s No. 2 and No. 5 free agent corners, respectively, could earn $10-11MM annually, per Pauline.
  • While the 2017 cornerback draft class doesn’t offer as much top-end talent as the safety class, it does boast more depth, opines Pauline. UCLA’s Fabian Moreau, for example, won’t be selected in the first round, but most scouts expect him to come off the board within the first 15 picks of Day 2, according to Pauline.
  • Some evaluators believe Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley is a superior player to former Buckeye defensive back Eli Apple, who was drafted 10th overall by the Giants in 2016. Conley, per Pauline, could be the “steal” of the cornerback position.

FA Rumors: Pats, Jefferson, Jags, Falcons

Free agency officially opens on March 9, so let’s round up a few FA-related notes and rumors from around the league:

  • Although it is difficult, as usual, to pin down the Patriots‘ free agency plans, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe does his best, writing that the club is “taking a long look” at the tight end position but that Martellus Bennett could certainly be back, that the team is in the defensive end market now that Chris Long is gone and Jabaal Sheard appears unlikely to return, and that Logan Ryan is likely to price himself out of the Patriots’ price range. Volin names the Jaguars and Raiders as two teams with serious interest in Bennett.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, the club is expected to let Tyson Alualu hit the open market, as Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union writes.
  • In a separate piece, O’Halloran lists the Jaguars‘ most pressing needs in free agency and examines how they could address those needs with an aggressive approach or with a more disciplined approach. He predicts that the Jags will land this year’s top FA cornerback, A.J. Bouye, if Bouye does not re-sign with Houston.
  • Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, citing an agent who represents a FA safety, says that the CardinalsTony Jefferson can expect to land a contract that will pay him $7MM per year (Twitter link). Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, though, tweets that Jefferson is likely to get paid closer to $10MM per year.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Falcons, who are moving towards an extension for Desmond Trufant, want to re-sign tight end Levine Toilolo, safety/linebacker Kemal Ishmael, and fullback Patrick DiMarco before free agency opens. The team is expected to let Jacob Tamme hit free agency and to wait until after the draft to make a decision on Dwight Freeney. Atlanta is also waiting to hear back from guard Chris Chester, who is contemplating retirement.
  • The Falcons plan to upgrade their defensive front in free agency and the draft, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. The club is expected to re-sign Courtney Upshaw, and McClure names Cowboys’ DT Terrell McClain as one potential target for Atlanta.
  • Mike Klis of 9News.com writes that the Broncos are seeking help on both the offensive and defensive line in free agency, but he observes that the club may be operating with two budgets: one that includes Tony Romo, and one that doesn’t. Even if Denver does not land the long-time Cowboys signal-caller, Klis says the Broncos will have to manage the cap creatively, as they have a number of housekeeping moves to make that will eat into their $35MM of cap room, and offensive and defensive linemen do not come cheap on the open market.

Pauline’s Latest: Bengals, Chiefs, Seahawks

The latest pre-free agency buzz from Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com….

  • There’s a “belief” that the Bengals will make Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan their No. 1 target in free agency. The durable Ryan just finished his fourth straight 16-game season, one in which he logged 13 starts, 92 tackles and two interceptions, and ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 16th-best corner (112 qualifiers). PFR’s Zach Links regards the 26-year-old as the 10th-best free agent in the upcoming class.
  • After re-signing safety Eric Berry and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to mega-deals this week, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has told people at the combine that he won’t dip into free agency. If true, that could take the Chiefs out of the running to re-sign defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
  • On the heels of his productive season of his career in 2016, Cowboys defensive lineman Terrell McClain is drawing significant interest – including from the Seahawks and Falcons – as free agency approaches. McClain, 28, put up personal-best totals in starts (15), tackles (39), sacks (2.5) and forced fumbles (two) last year.
  • The Bills and restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislee are amid discussions regarding a long-term agreement. Even though he’s stuck behind LeSean McCoy in Buffalo, Gillislee would like to spend the rest of his career there, per Pauline. Gillislee has been quietly excellent with the Bills the past two seasons, having averaged 5.7 yards per carry and scored 11 touchdowns on 148 rushes.