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Eagles release Kevin Byard, shed huge 2024 salary

The Eagles are reportedly releasing veteran safety Kevin Byard in a move that will save $13 million in cap space.

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In what will go down as the least-surprising roster move of the offseason, the Eagles on Friday released veteran safety Kevin Byard, a league source confirmed. The move was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 30-year-old Byard, acquired from the Titans in October, had one year remaining on the contract restructure he signed before last year in Tennessee.  And if he stayed on the Eagles’ roster in 2024 on the same contract he would have been owed a $9.6 million base salary and counted about $14.42 against the Eagle’ salary cap according to Spotrac.

That base salary was 2nd-highest on the team for 2024 behind only Haason Reddick’s $14.25 million.

But by releasing Byard now, the Eagles only take on about $710,000 in dead money against their 2024 salary cap. 

According to Spotrac, the Eagles paid Byard about $3.1 million for his 10 games last year.

The Eagles shipped starting safety Terrell Edmunds and two draft picks – 5th- and 6th-round picks in the 2024 draft – for Byard on Oct. 23.

Byard had 27 interceptions, 19 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss and 63 pass deflections in 121 games over 7 ½ seasons with the Titans. He made the Pro Bowl and 1st-team all-pro in both 2017 and 2021.

In 10 games with the Eagles, all starts, Byard had an interception – off Patrick Mahomes – and three pass deflections.

After he joined the Eagles, opposing quarterbacks had a 103.3 passer rating when targeting Byard and completed 75 percent of their passes, according to Stathead. The passer rating ranked 66th among 92 safeties who played at least 200 snaps last year and the completion percentage ranked 77th.

He wasn't horrible. But he wasn't very good either and never seemed to have a future here.

Byard was one of several older veteran stop-gap defensive players the Eagles added during the season who had some OK moments but were unable to provide consistency to a defense that fell apart the last month and a half of the season. The others – Shaq Leonard, Bradley Roby, Zach Cunningham, Nicholas Morrow, Justin Evans – are all due to become unrestricted free agents.

The Eagles at the moment are very thin at safety. 

Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown are under contract. Brown tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against the Giants and isn’t expected back until several games into the 2024 season.

Tristan McCollum, who played in three games on special teams as a practice-squad call-up, is with the Eagles on a futures contract.

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