There’s been a lot of speculation that once free agency begins that the Bengals could be in the market for a cornerback if Dre Kirkpatrick walks. A recent report by Tony Pauline linked the Bengals to free agent cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan, 26 years old, played opposite of Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler for the New England Patriots. Ryan was drafted in the third-round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Rutgers University. Although fans may be excited about possibly signing Ryan, they should proceed with caution before running with this hot take.
A couple of weeks ago, I had former Bengal/sports agent John Thornton on my podcast and we discussed the topic of rumors. Thornton said to take every rumor with a grain of salt around this time. Agents could be leaking “reports” to drive up the market for their own players before free agency. Typically, rock solid Bengals’ reports tend to come from inside rather than outside media. The fact that this wasn’t reported by Bengals.com Geoff Hobson or the Cincinnati Enquirer, gives me a reason to believe this report is simply speculation. We’ve all read Chris Cooley’s report about Marvin Lewis retiring this past season. I’m not saying Pauline is Cooley, I’m just noting that fans should be weary of outside rumors.
At 5-11 195, Ryan would fit the Bengals mold for the outside right cornerback position the same spot manned by Adam “Pacman” Jones. The Bengals have a history of signing former New England players, but they all have been at bargain rates (ex. Brandon LaFell, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, etc.). They’ve also signed veteran cornerbacks during free agency like Nate Clements, but haven’t had much luck in that department outside of Terrence Newman. The big difference is that Newman was a bargain pick, while the Bengals paid more for Clements. Both players, however, were older in age than Logan Ryan is at the time they were signed.
The Bengals also have a history of retaining their own and not pursuing outside high-dollar free agents. After being burned by the likes of Antonio Bryant and Laverneus Coles, they have stayed away from this strategy in recent years. Logan Ryan would qualify as a high-dollar player due to his current Spotrac market value of $14.4 million annual salary. I personally don’t believe Ryan will get that, but I do think $8-$9 million annually will be in reach for him. That being said, I highly doubt the Bengals would make a hefty investment in a guy they are not familiar with.
Unless the Bengals lose Pacman and Dre, I don’t see them pursuing Logan Ryan. I think a more likely scenario if Dre walks would be them offering a similar deal to Darqueze Dennard and starting William Jackson III at left corner. If they move on from Pacman, I see them moving Dennard into his spot before signing Logan Ryan. Dennard has worked at the right cornerback position during his tenure. Another option would be drafting a cornerback, which John Thornton has said is typically their way of replacing expensive premium positions. Either way, I don’t expect the Bengals to pursue Logan Ryan unless they are completely decimated at the cornerback position.