One of the game's greatest safeties is finally getting paid like one.
The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with safety Kevin Byard on a five-year, $70.5 million extension with $31 million in guarantees, a source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The team announced it reached a multiyear deal with Byard later Wednesday night.
The new deal makes Byard the highest-paid safety in the league in average annual value ($14.1M), passing Redskins safety Landon Collins and Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu ($14M), both of whom signed this offseason.
Entering his age-26 season, Byard has quickly made a name for himself as one of the league's rising defensive backs. Tennessee selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft out of Middle Tennessee State, and Byard started seven games out of the gate. His stellar 2017 season, during which he corralled a league-high eight picks, earned him a Pro Bowl appearance and a first-team All-Pro nod.
Byard hasn't missed a single game in his entire professional career and has 224 tackles, 12 picks, 28 passes defensed and three sacks to his name.
In Tennessee, Byard is part of a young, rising nucleus on defense that features a combination of homegrown talent (Jurrell Casey, Harold Landry, Rashaan Evans, Adoree' Jackson) and stellar acquisitions (Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Cameron Wake).
With the safety now locked up through 2024, Mike Vrabel has a leader on his side of the ball to shepherd Tennessee into the next decade.