Syndication: The Tennessean
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The rumor mill was sure churning in Music City this offseason. Teetering on the edge of rebuilding and retooling, it was believed the Tennessee Titans could part ways with vital players such as quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, but as we head into the month of July, both players remain on roster. Another player of importance that heard his name brought up in trade rumors was star safety Kevin Byard.

Byard is a two-time All-Pro who has never missed a game in seven seasons. He made an immediate impact for Tennessee, leading the league in interceptions with eight in his second NFL season. Prior to the 2019 campaign, Byard signed a five-year, $70.5 million extension that made him the highest-paid safety in NFL history at the time. As we enter 2023, he has two years remaining on that contract, with massive cap hits in each season. 

Byard's cap hit in 2023 is $19.62 million, per Spotrac, which is the second-highest cap hit on the Titans this season behind Tannehill. Back in March, new Titans general manager Ran Carthon approached Byard about taking a pay cut, and ESPN reported the two sides were at a crossroads. Then ... nothing happened. 

The Titans' leader on defense somewhat addressed the pay-cut situation in a minicamp press conference with reporters, but didn't actually offer much about the situation. This week, Byard hopped on "Bussin' With the Boys," a podcast hosted by former Titans teammates Taylor Lewan and Will Compton, and he went in-depth about what happened.

Byard said the pay-cut conversation between his camp and the Titans took place around a month before the report surfaced in March. At that time, Byard was in Cabo with his family when his agent called and asked if he was talking to reporters about his contract situation. That's when Byard realized his social media was blowing up, as there were incorrect reports indicating Byard had requested his release or a trade -- making him want to remain quiet about everything.

"It's very easy to get your emotions involved," Byard said. "When my agent told me --  obviously he had a conversation with the team and kind of reported back to me about everything -- it was very easy to be emotional because I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt a way about it. 'What? They asked for what?' But at the same time, you can't be emotional in business. If you make an emotional decision within y'all business, more than likely it's going to be bad business. So I had to find a way to compartmentalize everything and just kinda keep my emotions out of it when I'm making these different decisions. 

"Yeah, man. It happened. And I think we're in a good place right now."

Titans fans are surely happy to hear Byard say he and the organization are in a "good place." He added that he was unhappy with the narrative indicating he was "disgruntled" or didn't want to be in Tennessee anymore. 

As Byard pointed out during the interview, any time a player is asked to take a pay cut, that means something is about to happen. You either take that pay cut, or you're likely going to be playing somewhere else. In this unique case, that did not happen. 

"I think Ran is a good guy, he's cool, man," said Byard. "I don't have any ill feelings towards the whole situation. It just kinda is what it is."