The move gives Ryan a chance to join a contending team after two rough years with the Giants. Ryan was a team captain and, at times, the defensive play-caller.
The Bucs did not extend an offer to starting safety Jordan Whitehead, who departed for the Jets. Ryan fills that role, and more, given his time at both cornerback and safety. Ryan also gives them a veteran presence on the back end that they needed and got briefly with Richard Sherman.
The Bucs wanted Ryan two years ago as a free agent and even had discussions with him about playing in Tampa, when Brady first arrived, but both sides weren't able to make it work, sources told ESPN's Jenna Laine.
Ryan, 31, was brought in as a favorite of former Giants coach Joe Judge, who had worked with him in New England. Ryan was signed in the summer 2020 and received a contract extension that was announced on Christmas Day later that year.
The New Jersey native who attended Rutgers had 92 tackles in his first season with the Giants, second on the team behind Blake Martinez. He also added three forced fumbles.
The team's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee finished with a career-high 117 tackles this past season. The only two games he missed were because of COVID-19.
Ryan is owed $5.5 million from the Giants for this season, so the belief is that his signing will be around veteran minimum. He signed a three-year contract extension worth up to $30 million just 15 months ago. It included $11.5 million guaranteed.
Releasing Ryan saved the Giants a little less than $800,000 against the salary cap, a source said. It's believed the release of the former team captain has more to do with the Giants being in the midst of a defensive reset than with cap space.
The Giants have a new regime led by general manager Joe Schoen. Coach Brian Daboll hired former Baltimore Ravens coordinator Wink Martindale to run the defense.
The news of Ryan joining the Buccaneers was first reported by the NFL Network.
Information from ESPN's Jordan Raanan and Jenna Laine was used in this report.