The Tennessee Titans might not be done tearing down their roster. Two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard could be the next to go.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Titans have approached Byard about a pay cut, but the safety has pushed back against it. At this point, the two sides are said to be at a crossroads.
Having already moved on from multi-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, among others, the Titans are clearly in cost-cutting mode under first-year general manager Ran Carthon. But the idea of moving off one of the best safeties in the game seems foolish. Again, it’s all about finances here.
- Kevin Byard contract: 5 years, $70 million with $19.62 million cap hit for 2023
That cap hit is problematic. But it must be noted that the aforementioned report is not about a restructure. The Titans want Byard to take a pay cut. Given his performance and $14.1 million average annual salary, that doesn’t make much sense for the safety.
If Tennessee is forced to move off Byard, it will likely come via a trade. He’s too good of a player for the team to release. Under that guise, let’s look at three ideal destinations for the two-time All-Pro performer.
Ideal Kevin Byard landing spots
- Las Vegas Raiders: It’s not a stretch to say that the Raiders’ secondary could be one of the worst in the NFL next season if general manager Dave Ziegler doesn’t do anything about it. Here’s a unit that yielded 25 passing touchdowns compared to six interceptions last season. Byard would obviously be a major upgrade at either safety spot for Vegas. However, the idea would be for him to team up with youngster Trevon Moehrig in the back end.
- New England Patriots: Franchise legend Devin McCourty opted to call it quits after 13 seasons with the Patriots. This creates both a talent and experience vacuum in New England’s secondary. We also know just how much Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes to rely on his safeties. Byard is an absolutely perfect fit when it comes to the type of scheme New England runs on defense. Any move here would be reliant on Byard agreeing to a restructured contract. But if he’s able to remain one of the highest-paid safeties in the game, it could work.
Kevin Byard stats (2022): 108 tackles, 6 passes defended, 4 INT, 77.8 QB rating allowed
- Kansas City Chiefs: We can absolutely see Chiefs general manager Brett Veach make a move of this ilk following the departure of Juan Thornhill in free agency. Kansas City certainly has a hole to fil at safety next to stud youngster Bryan Cook. Justin Reid was not great in that role last season, giving up a 106.1 QB rating when targeted. As you can see above, Byard is a much better cover safety. If the price is right, this makes perfect sense for the defending Super Bowl champions.