How many games does all that win you?
Alright, so he is an outstanding safety, but he is still a safety right? How many games can a safety actually win you.
Honestly, this is a great question and it is one posed by to me today on Twitter. Ultimately it boiled to something we talked about a little earlier, which is that money “buying” the Tennessee Titans the most wins that it can per dollar?
This is how I respond to that question.
If the Titans had to pick between someone who averaged 10+ sacks per year and Kevin Byard then the conversation gets tougher. That sort of dominance can lead to an offense fundamentally changing the way they play and protect their quarterback.
Still, which elite EDGE are they missing out on by signing Byard? The top EDGEs hitting free agency this offseason are Jadeveon Clowney, Yannick Ngakoue and Whitney Mercilus. Those three average 6, 10, and 6 sacks per year respectively.
So even if you get a chance at Ngakoue, there is no chance he is taking anything less than $18 million per year so you wouldn’t be able to afford him with that money anyway.
As for the wins, I think I can safely say that Kevin Byard as he is right now is worth about 2.5 wins per year. That is a huge number for a non-QB, but let me explain.
Over the last two years with the Tennessee Titans, Byard has had interceptions in 8 different games.
The Titans won six of those eight games, and three of them were one score wins. In a one score game like that, I give a huge amount of weight to turnovers so I give Byard a lot of credit for those.
The remaining three games broke down like this:
-One was the aforementioned Dallas Cowboys game last year where he had the red zone pick that changed the game. Again, when I say changed the game, he not only took points off the board but completely energized the Tennessee Titans roster on both sides of the ball.
-One was the shutout against the New York Giants in 2018 where he had an interception and a sack. One would be enough, but to have two huge plays is all the more reason to give him additional credit.
-The final game was the must-win Washington Redskins game in 2018 where Marcus Mariota got hurt and the team had to rely on Blaine Gabbert to run the offense. Not only was defense key in this game, but it was actually nearly a one-score victory anyway. Some people forget that Malcolm Butler actually ran a pick back for a touchdown in the final seconds changing the score from a would be 19-16, to a 25-16 Tennessee Titans win.
So that’s six wins over the past two seasons where he has had a clear, tangible impact. This isn’t even including other games where he has made pass break ups, sacks, TFLs, or touchdown saving tackles.
While I thought that 2.5 wins may have been high at first, looking back on it I may have actually undersold Kevin Byard’s impact on the Tennessee Titans somehow.