By Max Harper

Kevin Byard is a poster child for what went wrong with the Eagles defense last season.

Byard was traded from the Titans last Oct. 23, and now he is gone.

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 $14.1 million in 2024, but very little of it was guaranteed.

Today’s move will generate just over $13 million in cap savings for the Eagles and a dead cap charge of only $1.39 million.

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 Jackson, Tracy 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.

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