Kevin Byard

Bears, S Kevin Byard Agree To Deal

Kevin Byard saw his brief Eagles tenure come to an end recently, but he has not needed to wait until the new league year to find his next home. The veteran safety has agreed to a two-year deal with the Bears, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reports.

This contract will carry a base value of $15MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network adds. Byard was set to visit a non-Chicago suitor today, per a previous Rapoport report. Instead, he has an agreement in place which will send him to the Windy City. Like all players released prior to free agency, he was free to sign with a team at any time.

Considering the Bears (a team which had nearly $63MM in cap space as of Sunday) hosted Byard yesterday, this news comes as little surprise. The 30-year-old was one of several decorated safeties on the open market after a large number of them were let go in the build-up to the new league year. The Eagles traded for Byard at the deadline in 2023, but they cut him earlier this month as part of a notable re-shaping of their secondary.

Prior to his Philadelphia stint, the former third-rounder had a productive tenure with the Titans from 2016 through to this fall. Byard earned a Pro Bowl nod as well as first-team All-Pro honors in the 2017 and 2021 seasons, and he has remained a full-time starter for the past seven years. He will be expected to provide experience and high-end production in Chicago given the terms of his new deal.

The Bears released Eddie Jackson this offseason, marking an end to his seven-year run with the franchise. Byard will take on Jackson’s starting role alongside Jaquan Brisker on the backend. Given the latter’s play to begin his career, along with the other young pieces in place in the Bears’ secondary, the team could be well-positioned to improve on its 25th place finish against the pass from 2023.

Standout corner Jaylon Johnson will be a major part of that effort, as he landed a lucrative extension shortly after receiving the franchise tag. Johnson had a breakout campaign in terms of ball production in particular last season, and continued play in that regard will go a long way to ensuring defensive success for Chicago. Byard will aim to play a central role in that regard as well.

The latter notched one interception and three pass breakups in his Eagles tenure; when taking his time with the Titans into account, Byard recorded over 100 tackles for the third time in the past four seasons. This pact represents a step back financially compared to his Titans extensions (averaging $14.1MM, then $12.55MM per season), but it comes during what could be a buyer’s market at the S position. Byard’s deal will likely be used as a barometer as other safeties find new teams over the course of free agency.

Bears Hosted S Kevin Byard On Visit

After getting cut by the Eagles last week, Kevin Byard is considering sticking in the NFC. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears hosted the safety on a visit yesterday.

[RELATED: Eagles To Release S Kevin Byard]

The former Titans star was traded to the Eagles back in October, with Philly sending safety Terrell Edmunds plus a fifth- and sixth-round pick to Tennessee. Byard started all 10 of his appearances for his new squad, compiling 75 tackles and one interception. He also started the Eagles’ lone playoff game, compiling five stops. Pro Football Focus ended up grading Byard 23rd among 95 qualifying safeties last season, including one of the top positional grades for his run defense.

Despite the production, Byard was cut by the Eagles earlier this month. The safety was set to earn $14.1MM in 2024, and his release ended up saving the Eagles $13MM against the cap.

The Middle Tennessee product made a name for himself with the Titans, evolving from a third-round pick into an All-Pro safety. Byard earned a number of accolades during his time with the organization, and he even led the NFL with eight interceptions in 2017. When his Titans career came to an end last season, the 30-year-old ranked top-five on the franchise’s tackles and interceptions leader board.

The Bears are looking for a replacement for their star safety Eddie Jackson, who was released by the organization in February. The team started adding some depth at the position this week, adding Tarvarius Moore to the mix in the secondary.

Eagles To Release S Kevin Byard

Kevin Byard joined the Eagles as a trade acquisition in 2023, but his time with the franchise has proven to be quite short. The veteran safety is being released, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Byard enjoyed a productive seven-plus seasons with the Titans, but his future in the organization faced questions entering the 2023 campaign. He wound up beginning the year in Tennessee, but he was dealt to the Eagles not long before the trade deadline. The move allowed the Titans to continue moving on from veteran contracts while providing Philadelphia an experienced option in the secondary. One year remained on Byard’s pact, but instead he will now hit the open market.

The 30-year-old was due $14.1MM in 2024, but very little of it was guaranteed. Today’s move will generate just over $13MM in cap savings for the Eagles and a dead cap charge of only $1.39MM. As the Eagles look to rebuild a defense which struggled down the stretch in particular last season, that added financial flexibility will be welcomed in advance of free agency.

Byard remained a full-time starter in the regular season with the Eagles, as was the case during the team’s wild-card loss. He recorded one interception, three pass deflections and 80 total tackles in that span, production which could allow him to land a short-term deal as a veteran contributor. The two-time All-Pro has nevertheless seen his ball production decline in recent years, something which will hurt his market value as he joins a number of veteran safeties in search of a new home.

Eddie JacksonTracy Walker and Marcus Maye have each been released by their respective teams in cost-shedding moves. The same is now true of Byard, meaning several experienced options will be available in free agency (compared to relatively few young producers at the safety spot, particularly if Antoine Winfield Jr. is franchise-tagged by the Buccaneers). After including Terrell Edmunds in the package to acquire Byard, meanwhile, the Eagles will be a team to watch with respect to an addition at the position.

Philadelphia only has Sydney Brown and Reed Blankenship under contract for 2024 at the moment. Justin Evans is a pending free agent, and he could join Byard in finding a new team in the near future. Today’s move will leave the Eagles with roughly $42MM in cap space, which will allow them the flexibility to pursue an upgrade on the backend. For Byard, it will be interesting to see how strong of a market develops as he prepares to likely join a third team in his career.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, Pioli

The dominoes continue to fall in NFL coaching circles and that’s certainly the case in the AFC East. The Dolphins made a trio of adjustments to their 2024 staff with two promotions and an external hire.

We learned about a week and a half ago that, after failing to land Miami’s defensive coordinator position, which went to Anthony Weaver, outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik was set to remain on the team’s staff for next season in a different capacity. Thanks to Charean Williams of NBC Sports, we now know that Slowik’s new position will be as defensive backs coach and pass game specialist. Williams also informed us that assistant defensive backs coach Mathieu Araujo has earned a promotion, as well. Araujo will serve as cornerbacks coach in 2024.

Additionally, we learned today that University of Montana defensive coordinator Ronnie Bradford will be taking the role of senior special teams assistant with the Dolphins for next season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Bradford has extensive history as an NFL special teams coach, even serving as special teams coordinator in Denver back in 2005, when both Slowik and head coach Mike McDaniel were low-level staffers for the Broncos.

Here are a few other staff updates from around the AFC East:

  • The Bills made a serious addition to their defensive staff with the recent hiring of Scott Booker as their new nickel coach and senior defensive assistant. Booker spent the last four years as safeties coach for the Titans, mentoring one of the league’s best in Kevin Byard. Thanks to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, we also learned that last year’s midseason hire, DJ Mangas, has earned a promotion in Buffalo. After spending the back half of the season as an offensive assistant, he will serve as an offensive quality control coach in 2024. The former teammate and roommate of offensive coordinator Joe Brady joined the team after Brady’s interim promotion last year.
  • Lastly, we learned that the Patriots had finalized their coaching staff today, but changes are still expected in the front office. Now, we know that New England plans to take their time in making the decisions in the player personnel department, but we did throw out a few names to watch for. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes that former Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli is another name that could be a factor. Pioli held the Patriots vice president of player personnel position for nine years back from 2002-08, essentially helping to set the stage for the team’s eventual dynasty.

Poll: Who Fared Best At Trade Deadline

A week removed from this year’s trade deadline, every team will soon have its acquired talent in uniform. The 49ers, Lions and Jaguars made trades while in bye weeks; Chase Young, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Ezra Cleveland will suit up for their new teams soon.

On this note, it is time to gauge the position every notable buyer and seller landed in following the deals. This year’s deadline featured two second-round picks being moved, though the teams that made those moves (Chicago, Seattle) have different timelines in place.

We have to start with the Commanders, who scrapped their yearslong Young-Montez Sweat partnership by making the surprise decision to move both defensive ends hours before the deadline. Although the team was listening to offers on both, it was widely assumed they would only part with one, thus saving a contract offer or a 2024 franchise tag for the other alongside well-paid D-tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. New owner Josh Harris looks to have made his bigger-picture plan clear, however, pressing upon the Commanders’ football-ops department to explore moving both.

Washington collected a second-rounder that likely will land in the 30s in exchange for Sweat, who was in a contract year at the time. It only obtained a compensatory third for Young, who drew interest from other teams (including the Ravens). For the first time in the common draft era, Washington holds five picks in the first three rounds. It cannot be assumed Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew will be making those picks, but Harris has effectively forced his hot-seat staffers to make do this season without Young and Sweat, who have combined for 11.5 sacks this year.

The initial team to pounce on the Commanders’ sale made a buyer’s move despite being in a seller’s position for the second straight year. After trading what became the No. 32 overall pick for Chase Claypool, GM Ryan Poles signed off on the Sweat pickup. The Bears have struggled to rush the passer under Matt Eberflus, having traded Khalil Mack in March 2022 and Robert Quinn last October. While acquiring a veteran in a contract year injects risk into the equation, Poles had the franchise tag at his disposal. But the Bears made good use of their newfound negotiating rights with Sweat, extending him on a four-year, $98MM pact. Despite no Pro Bowls or double-digit sack seasons, Sweat is now the NFL’s fifth-highest-paid edge rusher. Though, the Bears’ long-term edge outlook appears rosier compared to its pre-Halloween view.

Mayhew, Robert Saleh and Mike McDaniel have provided third-round compensatory picks for the 49ers, who have been the NFL’s chief beneficiary of the Rooney Rule tweak that awards third-round picks to teams who see minority coaches or execs become HCs or GMs. The team has more picks coming after the Ran Carthon and DeMeco Ryans hires. Using one to acquire Young seems like a low-risk move, given the former Defensive Rookie of the Year’s talent. Young has made strides toward recapturing the form he showed before his severe 2021 knee injury, and he is on pace for a career high in sacks.

The 49ers, who won last year’s trade deadline by landing Christian McCaffrey, will deploy Young alongside ex-college teammate Nick Bosa and the rest of their high-priced D-line contingent. The team will have a decision to make on Young soon; the free agent-to-be is not eyeing in-season extension talks, either. San Francisco could at least be in position to nab a midround compensatory pick, should Young leave in 2024.

The Young move came a day after the Seahawks obtained Leonard Williams from the Giants. That move cost Seattle second- and fifth-round picks. Williams is also in a contract year, but with the Giants picking up most of the tab, Seattle has the veteran D-tackle on its cap sheet at $647K. The former Jets top-10 pick has shown consistent ability to provide inside pressure, and the USC alum’s best work came in his previous contract year (2020). Gunning for another big payday, Williams joins Dre’Mont Jones in what is probably the best interior D-line duo of the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll era.

Seattle still surrendered a second-round pick for a player who could be a rental. Williams cannot realistically be franchise-tagged in 2024, with the Giants tagging him in 2020 and ’21, and he is not yet on Seattle’s extension radar. The Giants have already paid Dexter Lawrence and were planning on letting Williams walk. They passed on a comp pick for the trade haul, effectively buying a second-round pick in the way the Broncos did in the 2021 Von Miller trade. The Giants, who suddenly could be in the market for a 2024 QB addition, now have an additional second-rounder at their disposal.

While they made their move a week before the deadline, the Eagles landed the most accomplished player of this year’s in-season trade crop. Kevin Byard is a two-time first-team All-Pro safety, and although he is in his age-30 season, the former third-round pick is signed through 2024. The Eagles sent the Titans fifth- and sixth-round picks (and Terrell Edmunds) for Byard, a Philadelphia native, marking the team’s second splash trade for a safety in two years. Philly’s C.J. Gardner-Johnson swap turned out well, and Byard not being a pure rental could make this a better move.

Rather than turning to a fifth-round rookie, the Vikings acquired Josh Dobbs in a pick swap involving sixth- and/or seventh-rounders and saw the move translate to a surprising Week 9 win. Dobbs following in Baker Mayfield‘s footsteps as a trade acquisition-turned-immediate starter also made him the rare QB to see extensive action for two teams in two weeks; Mayfield was inactive in his final game as a Panther. The well-traveled Dobbs could give the Vikings a better chance to stay afloat in the NFC playoff race.

The Lions (Peoples-Jones), Jaguars (Cleveland) and Bills (Rasul Douglas) also made buyer’s moves at the deadline. The Bills gave the Packers a third-round pick, collecting a fifth in the pick-swap deal, for Douglas. They will hope the Green Bay starter can help stabilize their cornerback corps after Tre’Davious White‘s second major injury.

Who ended up faring the best at this year’s deadline? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this year’s moves in the comments section.

NFL Restructures: Dawkins, Sanders, Byard

Here are a few details on recent contract restructures around the NFL:

  • Last week, the Bills and left tackle Dion Dawkins agreed to a restructured deal to help create some cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Buffalo converted $5.18MM of Dawkins’ 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, clearing up $3.9MM of cap space.
  • The Dolphins restructured the contract of kicker Jason Sanders earlier this month, per Jason Fitzgerald of While the specifics have not yet been reported, Sanders’ cap hit in 2023 will be lessened from $3.7MM to $2.4MM.
  • Yates reported another restructure this week, with the Eagles restructuring the contract of newly acquired safety Kevin Byard. The team converted $888,750 of Byard’s 2023 salary into a bonus in order to clear $711K of cap space.

Trade Rumors: Packers, Smith, Byard, Raiders, Broncos, Jeudy, Sutton, Rams

Attached to his second Packers contract, Preston Smith is signed through 2026. During a 2022 offseason in which the Packers released Za’Darius Smith, they reupped Preston Smith on a four-year, $52.5MM pact. With the team going through considerable change since that point, the soon-to-be 31-year-old outside linebacker is a name being tossed around in scouting circles ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes. It would cost the Packers just more than $4MM in dead money to trade Smith before the deadline, and the team has a clear extension candidate on the edge in Rashan Gary. Green Bay also used the No. 13 overall pick on pass rusher Lukas Van Ness in April.

In his fifth year with the Packers, Smith has two sacks and five QB hits. Smith posted 17.5 sacks between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, however. His contract would not be difficult for a team to absorb, with a March restructure knocking the 2023 salary to $1.17MM. No guaranteed money remains on the deal post-2023.

With five days remaining until trades are shut down for the year, here is the latest on potential moves:

  • Kevin Byard refused a Titans pay-cut request this offseason, later agreeing to a resolution that helped the Titans afford DeAndre Hopkins. Even as the Titans fell to 2-4, the eighth-year safety did not request a trade, Terry McCormick of notes. Byard, 30, still wanted to finish his career with the Titans, per McCormick, who adds the Titans became receptive when the Eagles inquired on the All-Pro’s availability. The Eagles sent fifth- and sixth-round picks, along with safety Terrell Edmunds, to the Titans for Byard. While Byard is a Philly native, he has played his entire college and pro careers in Tennessee. Jon Robinson‘s first draft as Titans GM produced Byard in Round 3 out of Middle Tennessee State; Byard is signed through 2024.
  • On the wrong end of one of this season’s worst losses — a 30-12 rout at the hands of the Justin Fields-less Bears — the Raiders are 3-4. But the team is not shifting into sell mode just yet, with Tashan Reed of The Athletic indicating the team is still looking at buyer’s moves (subscription required). A pass rusher remains a clear target for the team, per Reed, though a move to separate from Hunter Renfrow continues to be circulated. The Raiders used the No. 7 overall pick on Tyree Wilson, but their plan of grooming the Texas Tech alum behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones combusted after Jones’ messy saga led to an arrest (and later a second arrest) before a release from the NFI list. Wilson has one sack so far, and Crosby remains the only Raider with more than 1.5 this season.
  • While could certainly be classified as posturing, the Broncos are not committed to moving one of their receivers before the deadline. Trade targets before last year’s deadline as well, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton came up frequently as trade chips this offseason. Should Denver not receive a substantial offer, The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider notes the team is fine moving forward with each and continuing to build on an offensive improvement after last season’s disaster. Jeudy, who is tied to a $12.99MM fifth-year option salary in 2024, has been viewed as more likely to be moved. But his value has dropped compared to where it was this offseason, which could put the Broncos to a big-picture decision. Sutton, whose $15MM-per-year contract runs through 2025, has been more effective in Sean Payton‘s offense. Although the Broncos will drop to 2-6 if they lose yet again to the Chiefs this week, it is far from a lock the team trades one of its wideouts.
  • Rumblings about the Rams going back to the buyer’s well surfaced recently, but The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue indicates the team is not expected to be a notable player before the deadline. Sean McVay said recently the team would likely stand down this year, which will be a letdown for headline-driving purposes, considering what the Rams have done at past McVay-era trade deadlines.

Titans, Eagles Agree To Kevin Byard Trade

The Eagles have made a signficant addition to their secondary. Philadelphia has agreed to a trade which will see them acquire safety Kevin Byard from the Titans, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reports that fellow safety Terrell Edmunds, along with 2024 fifth- and sixth-round picks will be headed back to Tennessee. The Eagles have long been named as a candidate to make an addition in the secondary – particularly at the safety spot – and now that has taken place. The move marks an end to Byard’s seven-plus year run in Nashville.

With that said, this move will represent a homecoming for the Philadelphia native. Byard’s time with the Titans appeared to be on shaky ground in the offseason, with new general manager Ran Carthon approaching him (unsuccessfully) about agreeing to a pay cut. In spite of that, the 30-year-old made it clear he was not looking to be moved out of Tennessee. He ultimately agreed to a restructured contract, a move which lowered his base salary to $4MM this season.

Given the ease which which his 2023 earnings could be absorbed – along with the fact no guaranteed money is in place in 2024, the final year of his deal – Byard represented an attractive trade chip. He was recently reported to be the subject of interest from teams, but doubts remained regarding the compensation Tennessee could fetch in return. Instead of seeing Byard potentially become a cap casualty in the offseason, the Titans will now receive a pair of Day 3 picks along with a short-term replacement in Edmunds, who signed a one-year deal this offseason.

The picks exchanged here will be the Eagles’ highest pick in the 2024 fifth and sixth rounds, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweets. Both are conditional selections, per’s Howard Balzer. It is unknown at this point what conditions are included here, but this will bring an end to an eight-season partnership between Byard and the Titans.

Byard earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro acclaim in 2017 and ’21, and he has remained productive across his time in Nashville. He has recorded multiple interceptions every full year since his rookie campaign, and eclipsed 100 tackles twice. His ball production and coverage marks have taken a step back this year, but he will be joining a more talented defense upon arrival with the Eagles, a team which has lost a number of key members of its secondary since their Super Bowl appearance.

That included the free agent departure of both Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnsonand Philadelphia has been in search of a true replacement for the latter’s playmaking in particular early in the season. Byard will have the chance to take on a starting role alongside Reed Blankenship (when healthy) in the team’s new-look safety arrangement. Their performances when paired together will go a long way in determining the secondary’s success, especially given the season-ending injury suffered by slot corner Avonte Maddox.

The Eagles entered today with roughly $4.3MM in cap space, so this move will likely be the most notable one the reigning NFC champions can afford. Still, it proves the team’s all-in approach as they look to go one step further than they did last year. From Tennessee’s perspective, meanwhile, this move will invite questions about Carthon and Co. being willing to part with other veterans. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry are not believed to be on the block, but at 2-4 it would not come as no surprise if the Titans were to act as sellers in other moves ahead of the October 31 deadline.

Titans Unlikely To Trade Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins

The Titans are currently 2-4 and may be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill for their last contest before the October 31 trade deadline (they have a bye this week and face the Falcons on October 29). They clearly profile as potential deadline sellers, but head coach Mike Vrabel is not throwing in the towel on the 2023 season, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.

As such, Tennessee is not motivated to trade star running back Derrick Henry, as Robinson reports. While there is obvious concern about how many carries Henry has accumulated over the past few years, the two-time rushing leader has trade value. He still has some burst and is maintaing a solid 4.3 yards-per-carry average this season, and it is fair to expect that he will remain productive for the rest of the campaign.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic, though, has not found a team with much interest in Henry (subscription required). Perhaps that is because of his high usage rate and the fact that he is less than three months away from his 30th birthday, or perhaps it is simply because rival execs do not believe the Titans will seriously consider trading the longtime focal point of their offense. In any event, it presently appears likely that Henry will stay in Nashville through at least the end of the current season.

Likewise, it seems that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will stay put. Robinson has spoken to a few receiver-needy clubs, and he does not get the sense that Tennessee will be able to get much of a return in a Hopkins trade. The three-time First Team All-Pro made plenty of PFR headlines during his free agency stint this year, though he later conceded that his market did not develop as he expected after he was released by the Cardinals in May. He ultimately joined the Titans on a two-year, $26MM deal, and it does not sound as if other clubs are anxious to take on the balance of that contract. Through six games in 2023, Hopkins has 27 catches on 47 targets for 376 yards. He has yet to find the endzone.

As opposed to his veteran teammates on the offensive side of the ball, safety Kevin Byard is receiving trade interest, per Russini. However, Robinson does not believe Byard would fetch anything more than a late-round pick, and assuming that’s the case, the Titans would be better served by keeping him in the fold.

Wideout Treylon Burks, a 2022 first-round pick who was supposed to help replace A.J. Brown‘s production, has also been the subject of trade inquiries, as Russini writes. Unsurprisingly, the Titans are not inclined to move any young player, let alone a player who was taken on Day 1 of the draft just one year ago.

Titans, S Kevin Byard Agree To Restructure

After much speculation about his financial future, Kevin Byard has agreed to a reworked contract. The All-Pro safety restructured his Titans deal, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Largest Cap Hits Amongst NFL Defenders]

Byard will see his base salary dropped from $14MM to $11MM, Rapoport notes, but incentives will allow him to earn back the difference. This move puts to rest questions related to the 29-year-old’s short-term standing with the organization after new general manager Ran Carthon unsuccessfully attempted to work out a pay cut with Byard in March. Tennessee parted ways with several costly veterans this offseason but the two-time Pro Bowler remains under contract through 2024.

Despite the pay cut request, Byard made it clear last month that he was not looking for a trade out of Tennessee, his only home during his seven-year career. The former third-rounder remains one of the league’s most productive safeties and delivered another strong performance in 2022 with 108 tackles and four interceptions. He will be counted on as an anchor of the Titans’ secondary once again this season.

Byard has no guaranteed money on his deal next year, so his performance will not only affect his earnings in 2023 but also the team’s willingness to remain committed to him for the future. A major injury or signficant decline in play would seemingly be necessary for his tenure to be put in doubt, but the new front office has already shown a willingness to try and lower the Middle Tennessee State product’s cap burden.

The Titans entered today with $8.3MM in cap space, a figure which will change significantly when their DeAndre Hopkins signing becomes official. Byard, like the All-Pro wideout, will be a major part of the team’s plans this season, and he can now approach training camp and the build-up to the fall with clarity regarding his financial situation.