By: Will Burchfield
In his short time as general manager of the Lions, Bob Quinn has shown a penchant for signing former Patriots.
Could Logan Ryan be the next in line? The Lions have reportedly expressed interest in the 26-year-old corner back, and Quinn, even after reaching agreements with RT Ricky Wagner and LB Paul Worrilow, has money to work with.
One thing seems clear, at least. Ryan is on his way out in New England. The Patriots are reportedly prepared to sign Bills cornerback Stephen Gilmore, meaning Ryan is destined for free agency.
(This could change, of course, if the rumored Malcolm Butler-for-Brandin Cooks trade comes to fruition.)
Ryan would be a welcome addition to a Detroit secondary that surrendered 33 touchdowns and a league-worst 106.5 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks in 2016. In 32 games over the last two seasons, Ryan tallied 166 tackles and 25 passes defended.
For comparison, Darius Slay had 103 tackles and 26 passes defended over the same span, though he played in three fewer games. A combination of he and Ryan would give Detroit two lockdown defenders on the outside.
What should especially appeal to the Lions about Ryan is his knack for creating turnovers. He has 13 career interceptions in four seasons, along with three forced fumbles. The Lions had just 10 picks as a team last year, a deficiency Quinn pointed out at last week’s combine.
“I think we were in the bottom five in the league in interceptions,” he said, “so that’s an area we need to improve.”
If the Lions make a run at Ryan, they’ll have plenty of competition. The Steelers, Titans and Bears, among others, are all believed to be in on the coveted cornerback. Such interest could drive up Ryan’s price tag, which is likely to land somewhere between $9 million and $11 million.
Detroit is already paying Slay $12 million per year through 2020. Could Quinn, enticed by Ryan’s New England background and dynamic skill set, double down at a critical position?
Free agents can officially sign with new teams on Thursday at 4 p.m.