Is Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard worth his next contract?

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Kevin Byard /
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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

What can he do that makes him worth that elite contract?

In the last slide I said that there were two things we needed to know before we could figure out if this deal was worth it for the Tennessee Titans.

The first was other players they could add with that same contract, the other is what exactly does Byard bring to the table that makes him so valuable?

You have to start with his ability to take the ball away in the passing game. Over the last two years he leads the league in interceptions by any player at any position, so consider him an improved version of a ballhawking cornerback.

He isn’t limited to one coverage like some guys are. You will see him walk in the box and erase tight ends and running backs, then a few players later he will play the deep middle of the field and the on the next drive he may take the other team’s best receiver in man coverage.

In terms of coverage he might as well be a cornerback with the strength and willingness to tackle.

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Speaking of tackling, another big reason why he is so valuable is because he tackles like he is another linebacker. While some rangy safeties get typecast as fragile, softer players no one would ever say that to Byard, at least they wouldn’t say it twice.

You are just as likely to see him get a TFL (12 career TFLs) or hit the QB (13), as you are to see him pick off a pass (12) which again, he leads the league at over the last two years. What does that say about his willingness to stick his nose in the fan and be physical?

We have talked about his versatility and the different facets of his game, but what about the other stuff? What I mean is, does he have the “X-factor” that some guys have that makes a team follow his lead? When the going gets tough, is he the guy that the rest of the team turns to?

Well, look no further than the image above. You may notice that Byard is celebrating on top of the Dallas Cowboys star at midfield. While I do love the confidence and the brash attitude, let me tell you why that picture is so important.

That picture came after a red zone interception where the Dallas Cowboys were about to go up 14-0 on the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. To give it even more context, this came as the offense looked completely out of rhythm, already having fumbled the ball twice and given up a field goal try and a touchdown.

In what could have been the biggest moment of this game and a turning point in the Tennessee Titans season that almost propelled them to the playoffs, Byard picked off a pass from Dak Prescott and ran it to the 50-yard line to celebrate and energize his team.

From there the confidence seemed to radiate through the offense and the defense as the Titans went on a 28-7 run and a big win in front of a nationally audience.

That is the sort of thing you need from a leader, that “it” factor and Kevin Byard has it in spades.