October 23, 2023   3 MIN READ

Byard Up!

Birds Deal For 2-Time All Pro Safety


With the NFL trade deadline approaching next week, the Eagles moved to address one of their most glaring weaknesses.

The team dealt with Tennessee for two-time All Pro safety Kevin Byard, per an NFL Media report, after calling around to address the position.

Byard, 30, was in the middle of his eighth season with the Titans. He started 111 of the 120 games that he played for Tennessee, which drafted him out of Middle Tennessee State in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Per The Athletic, in exchange for Byard, the Eagles gave up two Day 3 draft picks in 2024 and veteran safety Terrell Edmunds, who was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason.

The Philadelphia native has 27 career interceptions – he led the NFL with eight in 2017 – and had nine interceptions combined in 2021 and 2022. He hasn’t had any this season.

Kevin Byard

GETTY IMAGES: The Eagles traded for two-time All Pro safety Kevin Byard to address a glaring weakness.

Byard will start next to second-year safety Reed Blankenship, who also went to Middle Tennessee State. Blankenship made the Eagles as an undrafted free agent last year and became the first rookie free agent in team history to start a playoff game his first season.

The move allows rookie third-round pick Sydney Brown to contribute on special teams and potentially rotate into the defense situationally without having to play too many snaps.

Byard, per overthecap.com, redid his deal with Tennessee this t0 reduce his base salary by converting $7 million into a signing bonus. In 2024, he can earn a $4 million roster bonus in March. The final two years, 2025 and 2026, are voidable years.

The Eagles entered 2023 thin at the position after losing its starting tandem of C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps to free agency and only signing Edmunds and oft-injured veteran Justin Evans to fill holes.

Injuries to Blankenship and Evans, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury that landed him on Injured Reserve, forced Brown to start alongside Edmunds against the Dolphins on Sunday night, a situation the Eagles overcame in a 31-17 win.

Brown had just returned from missing two games from a hamstring injury. The Eagles played their Week 6 games against the Jets with just two active safeties, one of which was Blankenship, who left with a ribs injury after a blindside hit and forced the Eagles to play undrafted rookie defensive back Mekhi Garner at safety.

Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman has been aggressive at or near the deadline going back to acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins in 2017 to bolster an already formidable Eagles team that won its first Super Bowl that season.

Other pieces Roseman has acquired around the deadline are wide receiver Golden Tate (2018), pass rusher Genard Avery (2019), and defensive end Robert Quinn (2022).

In 2020, when the Eagles were out of postseason contention, Roseman traded away Super Bowl champion tight end Zach Ertz to the Cardinals for a cornerback and draft compensation.

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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