We’re still two days away from the legal tampering period of free agency, but the rumors are coming in hot. A day after the Detroit Lions were linked to soon-to-be free agent linebacker Paul Worrilow, a separate report has connected the Lions to a much more high profile defender. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, three separate sources mentioned the Lions as a possible landing space for cornerback Logan Ryan.
The general feeling around the league is that Logan Ryan will price himself out of the Patriots’ market — potentially $10 million per year — and three different sources mentioned the Lions, who need a cornerback and are run by GM Bob Quinn, a former longtime Patriots scout.
We’ve already mentioned Ryan a few times here on this site. He is one of 12 free agents we mentioned that has a previous connection with general manager Bob Quinn. At the time, here’s what I wrote about Ryan:
Ryan fits best in the slot, which was a huge liability for the Lions in 2016. Though Quandre Diggs showed promise in 2015, last year was a bit of a disaster for him. Ryan would make an excellent fit in Detroit if the Lions are willing to shell out some money for him. Spotrac lists his market value at $14.4 million per year, but that seems like a gross over-exaggeration. Expect to see him more around the $7-8 million range.
Teams may have to split the price difference there in order to snag Ryan. According to the Globe report, Ryan could earn “potentially $10 million per year.”
What they’d be getting in Ryan is a player who has excelled both as the No. 2 corner and as a nickelback. Per Pro Football Focus, Ryan finished 11th among corners as the No. 2 guy in 2015. After struggling at the start of 2016, Ryan transitioned to the slot, and was PFF’s best cornerback from Week 11 to the end of the season.
Still, $10 million would be a heavy price to pay for Ryan. The Lions have heavy needs all over their defense, and while they may not be happy with the likes of Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs, at least they have serviceable players at those positions. The Lions are severely lacking players both on the defensive line and linebacker positions.
Regardless, it has become clear that Detroit is undoubtedly looking to upgrade their secondary after a rough 2016. While the Lions invested long-term in Darius Slay by giving him a four-year, $48 million extension last offseason, both Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs were disappointments last season, and the Lions would definitely benefit from upgrading one or both of those positions.