A Fond Farewell To Kevin Byard As The Titans Start to Sell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sentimentality comes first, ahead of practicality. 

For eight years Kevin Byard has been as likable a Titan as any in the team's Tennessee history, as stand-up, as productive.

Kevin Byard
  Kevin Byard/ Angie Flatt

To be a First-Team All-Pro twice, five years apart, is a big accomplishment. He carried himself in a way that Mike Mularkey and then Mike Vrabel wanted others to model and he was a gold star on the draft resume of Jon Robinson. Fans loved him. Last year he won the media's first Good Guy award, named after Eddie George and there was no second place. [Unlocked]

He was a calming force in the secondary and for the defense throughout his tenure. He's tied for fourth in franchise history with 27 interceptions, which puts him first in the Titans' era.

But the Titans knew their restructuring had helped overprice him, and they pressed him to take less in the offseason He didn't for a good while until late, moving $4 million in order to allow the team to fit DeAndre Hopkins. That probably didn't sit well and didn't feel great for one of the handful of guys who fit the bill as a franchise model, who Vrabel said did everything the right way for the franchise.

Now he's moving from the faltering 2-4 Titans to the 6-1 Eagles, the defending NFC East champions.

In return, a team with insufficient draft capital and big roster holes gets a fifth-round pick (the higher of the two the Eagles hold, Minnesota's or Tampa Bay's), a sixth-round pick (the Titans' original pick, shipped to Philly for Ugo Amadi) and Terrell Edmunds, a sixth-year safety. Edmunds was drafted by the Steelers out of Virginia Tech 28th overall in 2018 but has not lived up to the draft status with five interceptions and 26 passes defensed in 86 games. He was in his first year with Philadelphia.

The Byard move indicated the Titans are sellers and are acknowledging who they are, which is a team that needs to look ahead and plan for the future and not harbor false expectations about contending this season.

The question is who else will be bought?

Derrick Henry is surely on the market, and Ryan Tannehill would have been but for the ankle injury he suffered in Week 6's loss to the Ravens in London.

It would make sense, too, to shop DeAndre Hopkins, who could bring the biggest return, perhaps a third- or fourth-rounder. Denico Autry, Teair Tart and Kristian Fulton should also be available.

It only takes one buyer, but the return for Byard tells us about the market for the others. Hopkins is under contract for another year. Henry, Autry, Tart and Fulton are all on expiring deals and come with issues.

Henry is closing in on 30 and slowing and does best with a lot of volume, something an acquiring team would probably have a hard time offering. Autry is 33. Tart's been dealing with a toe injury and seems to be in conflict with coaches. Fulton's struggled mightily.

Kuharsky megaphoneThe Titans were without a third-rounder (the deal up for Will Levis) a fifth-rounder (traded for Dennis Daley) and a sixth (moved Amadi).

Now they are back in the fifth and sixth though they will be drafting late in those rounds with the Eagles on track to finish well.

Byard will be remembered fondly and qualify as a candidate from this era for a spot in the team's ring of honor.

If Elijah Moden (hamstring) is healthy, he should line up next to Amani Hooker Sunday against Atlanta as a starting safety.

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