The future of All-Pro safety Kevin Byard with the Tennessee Titans is now in question after the team reportedly approached him about taking a pay cut. According to former NFL General Manager Michael Lombardi, the Titans will release Byard if he doesn’t accept a pay cut.
Byard, who joined the Titans as a third-round pick in 2016, has been a consistent force in the team’s defense. He has made two All-Pro teams and has not missed a single game since joining the team. In the 2022 season, Byard recorded 108 tackles and four interceptions, demonstrating his impact in the back end of the Titans’ defense.
However, Byard’s hefty salary may be too much for the Titans to justify, especially with their need to create salary cap space. The team is currently set to pay Byard a base salary of $13.6 million this season, and he is signed for the same amount in 2024, which is the final year of his current deal.
Releasing Byard as a post-June 1 cut would result in $14.1 million in cap room, but doing it now would only create $5.99 million in space while leaving over $13.6 million in dead money. It remains unclear what the Titans will do next, as Byard has reportedly declined their offer to take a pay cut.
The Titans’ decision to potentially release Byard would be a tough one, given his consistent performance on the field. However, it may be necessary for the team to create space for other key players or to address other needs in the offseason.
The situation with Byard is just one of many challenges facing the Titans this offseason. The team is also dealing with the impending release of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to rumors. As well as the uncertain future of star running back Derrick Henry, who suffered a season-ending injury late in the 2022 season.
The Titans already released veterans such as left tackle Taylor Lewan, wide receiver Robert Woods, center Ben Jones, linebacker Bud Dupree and kicker Randy Bullock.
As the offseason continues, it remains to be seen what the Titans will do with Byard and how they will navigate these other challenges. Fans will be eagerly watching to see how the team responds and what their plan is for the upcoming season.