Tennessee Titans: Kevin Byard earned record-setting contract extension

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Safety Kevin Byard
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Safety Kevin Byard /

No player in the NFL deserved a record-setting contract extension for his position more than Tennessee Titans safety, Kevin Byard.

The Tennessee Titans signed superstar safety Kevin Byard to a record-setting five-year contract extension on Wednesday night—and it was well deserved.

The five-year deal will pay Byard $70.5 million, with $31 million in guarantees. That works out to an annual average salary of $14.1 million, which tops the previously highest-paid safeties, Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu and Washington Redskins’ Landon Collins.

It was inevitable that Byard would be the highest-paid safety, first and foremost because he is better than both of those players who were making an average of $14 million per year.

But wait, there’s more.

No safety in the NFL has more interceptions in the past two seasons than Byard, who has totaled 12 during his three-year career. In 2017, Byard was tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with eight, and made it to the Pro Bowl and was named a First-Team All-Pro.

And, as Pro Football Focus points out, Byard’s grades and overall performance have been nothing short of the elite and legendary, as he’s also played in every game the past three seasons:

Simply put, there is nothing Byard can’t do and he’s the true definition of an all-around safety.

He can tackle, he can cover, and he can stop the run. Byard’s ballhawk skills are elite and are unmatched by any safety in the league. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a leader.

General manager Jon Robinson selected Byard in the third round (No. 64 overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft, and he has truly struck gold and found himself a superstar player.

The Titans needed to get Byard signed before the start of this coming season and answered the bell accordingly. Had Byard hit the open market, the Titans would have had a bidding war on their hands with several teams around the league looking to add the kind of special talent Byard is.

Those concerns are now done with. The Titans have locked Byard up as the highest-paid safety in  NFL history and he will remain in Tennessee for the long term.

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And nobody deserved it more.