NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — New general manager Ran Carthon confirmed Monday that the Tennessee Titans did ask two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to take a pay cut earlier this year.
Carthon also made clear that Byard, the first pick of the third round in 2016, did not ask to be released or traded. The first-time general manager hired in January said he talked with Byard within the past three weeks and has been in constant contact with the safety’s agent.
“All our dealings are with the player and our players know where we stand with them,” Carthon said.
Byard goes into his eighth NFL season due $13.6 million in base pay with a salary cap hit of $19.6 million that ranks second on the Titans’ roster only behind quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s $36.6 million hit, according to Spotrac.com.
The safety has never missed a game because of injury and has started 105 of 114 regular-season games played in his career. He’s a four-time captain who has led the Titans in tackles and interceptions each of the past two seasons.
Byard ranks first among NFL safeties with 27 interceptions since the start of the 2017 season.
Carthon also said the Titans have not taken any calls for a trade of Derrick Henry. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner is the eighth man to run for at least 2,000 yards in a season in the NFL and ranked second in the NFL with 1,538 yards rushing last season behind a banged-up offensive line.
The new GM talked with Henry within the past two months and has talked with the agent of the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Henry has not taken part in the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason program.
“Derrick not being here I don’t think it bothers anybody,” Carthon said. “I see the way that guy works. He puts in the work. He’s going to take care of his body and be ready to go, so have no reservations.”
The Titans go into Thursday night with the No. 11 pick overall in the NFL draft. Carthon said he’d rather be selecting at the end of the first round in future years, so this gives Tennessee an opportunity to get a key player.
They have looked at the quarterbacks projected as first-round selections, and Carthon said everything is on the table. The new general manager also said he has talked with Tannehill, who will turn 35 in July and is heading into the final year of his contract.
“It’s our job to look at everything,” Carthon said.