The official start of 2020 NFL free agency (March 18) is still 48 days away but we’ve already seen some Philadelphia Eagles rumors pop up.
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline previously reported the word going around at the Senior Bowl was that the Eagles “will go hard after a cornerback in free agency.” He specifically mentioned Chris Harris Jr. and Byron Jones as names that were being thrown around.
Now Pauline is mentioning a new name at cornerback via his mailbag column at PFN:
Q: In your Senior Bowl rumors column, you mentioned that the Philadelphia Eagles are likely to go after a big named cornerback. In your opinion, who will the best available cornerback in free agency?
PAULINE: At this point, I don’t know who will be the best at the position. But I can tell you this – several people tell me Logan Ryan will be in play for the Eagles and it makes sense. He grew up right outside of Philadelphia, he’d be a terrific fit from a scheme and personality point of view and he may be slightly less expensive than Byron Jones.
Ryan is indeed a native of Camden County, New Jersey. He attended Eastern Regional High School located in Voorhees Township and then played college football for Rutgers. Moving closer to home could certainly be an appeal for him after previously playing for the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
Ryan, a 2013 third-round draft pick by the Pats, does not lack experience. He’s logged 85 starts in 109 career games played and has only been inactive for three games. Over the span of seven seasons, Ryan has notched 494 tackles, 78 passes defensed, 17 interceptions, 11 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and one defensive touchdown. Strong track record of durability and production while always playing for teams that had more wins than losses.
The downside to Ryan is that he’s quicker than he is fast (scroll down for Mockdraftable’s spider graph), he turns 29 in February, and he’s essentially played an entire extra season’s worth of playoff games (10 starts in 15 appearances). Such factors could help to drive Logan’s price down to a range where the Eagles are comfortable paying him, as Pauline alluded to.
It goes without saying that corner is a position the Eagles need to address this offseason. Both Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are going to be free agents. Darby seems pretty likely to be gone while Mills might be back but it’s not a guarantee. It would be hard for the Eagles to merely rely on drafting and developing a young corner given their poor track record of doing such under Howie Roseman’s tenure.
And so signing Ryan could make some sense. He’s not a star by any means but he’s at least proven to be an above average starter. He’d figure to represent an upgrade in Philly’s leaky secondary, although not as a long-term solution.
One very interesting wrinkle to this Ryan rumor is that he has a track record of playing in the slot. Not exclusively, mind you, but he did take the most nickel cornerback snaps (448 of his 1,098 total - about 40%) of any defender in 2019. The aforementioned Harris Jr., whom the Eagles are rumored to be interest in, also has extensive slot corner experience. Is this a sign that the Eagles are truly looking to move Avonte Maddox to safety?
In any case, add Ryan to the list of names to especially keep an eye on when free agency starts.
Should the Eagles sign Logan Ryan?
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Hat tip to BGN reader @IgglesCoverage.