The Eagles’ decision to release Kevin Byard underscores their need for a safety who can make impactful plays.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to release safety Kevin Byard was both expected and necessary. Despite being a two-time All-Pro with the Tennessee Titans, Byard did not make a significant impact during his brief tenure with the Eagles. Acquired before the trade deadline on October 23 of the previous year in exchange for two 2024 Day 3 picks (a fifth- and sixth-rounder) and safety Terrell Edmunds, Byard’s performance in 10 games with the Eagles was mixed.

While Byard provided stability to a back seven that struggled due to injuries, ineffectiveness, and coaching changes, his overall contribution did not match his past achievements. Despite glimpses of promise from rookies like Sydney Brown and Eli Ricks, the Eagles’ defensive unit failed to perform cohesively.

Veterans like James Bradberry and Byard found themselves struggling to adapt to the team’s evolving dynamics. Byard, in particular, failed to replicate his playmaking abilities from his time with the Titans, except for a notable interception against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11.

By parting ways with Byard, the Eagles stand to gain significant salary cap relief, with over $13 million becoming available. While there’s a possibility of Byard returning on a more favorable contract, the team is exploring other options, including a potential reunion with C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who excelled as a playmaker in 2022.

Despite Gardner-Johnson’s previous issues with the team, the Eagles are keen on acquiring a dynamic presence in the secondary, similar to his skill set. With the departure of former secondary coach Dennard Wilson and the introduction of a new defensive scheme, Gardner-Johnson’s return could be a strategic fit for the Eagles.

In the absence of Byard, the Eagles are evaluating internal options like Reed Blankenship, a recovering Sydney Brown, and Tristin McCollum to fulfill the role of a playmaking safety in their defensive strategy.

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