The Tennessee Titans are in the midst of an offseason of change, as new general manager Ran Carthon has already parted ways with several notable names such as left tackle Taylor Lewan and pass-rusher Bud Dupree. Tennessee is not done making moves, however, and now, all eyes have turned to star safety Kevin Byard.
According to ESPN, the Titans approached Byard about a pay cut, but Tennessee’s leader on defense does not believe his play warrants him taking less money. The Middle Tennessee State product has wanted to ultimately retire a Titan, but ESPN reports the two sides are at a crossroads. Turron Davenport reports that Byard has not requested his release.
Byard recorded 108 combined tackles, six passes defensed and four interceptions in 17 games played last season. With a defense that has suffered injuries at every position over the past couple seasons, Byard has never missed a game in his NFL career. He was named a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2017 and 2021, and led the NFL in interceptions with eight in his second season back in 2017.
Originally a third-round pick out of MTSU in 2016, Byard quickly emerged as a leader for the Titans. Back in 2019, he inked a five-year, $70.5 million deal that included $31 million in guarantees. At the time, it made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Now, his $14.1 million AAV ranks No. 9 among safeties, per Over The Cap.
Tennessee currently has $15.47 million in cap space, per Over The Cap. According to Spotrac, Byard carries a $19.62 million cap hit in 2023. That ranks second on the team behind quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who carries a whopping $36.60 million cap hit this season.