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Bengals reportedly gauging the safety market; Kevin Byard makes sense after being cut by Eagles

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By: Jason Marcum

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Bengals need safety help, and a two-time All-Pro is on the market.

It’s no secret that the safety position left a lot to be desired for the 2023 Cincinnati Bengals, which could lead to some firepower being added to the position this year.

The NFL Draft doesn’t appear to have any clear instant-impact safeties this year, and there may not even be one taken in Round 1. Plus, it seems unlikely the Bengals would want to add another young guy to the secondary. What they need is a veteran who’s already been through his NFL growing pains, not another young guy to spend multiple years developing.

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway, the Bengals are indeed showing interest in the safety market, specifically at free safety after Dax Hill had a disastrous 2023 season, while Jordan Battle is expected to retain his starting spot entering Year 2.

“League sources tell The Enquirer the Bengals are checking in and have shown interest in the safety market ahead of free agency. This makes sense given the uncertainty of where Hill fits in Cincinnati’s defense. It seems highly likely the Bengals will address the safety position with a veteran. Jordan Battle is expected to remain the Bengals’ starting strong safety after a solid first season with the club. Free safety is where Cincinnati has a hole.”

It just so happens that a good option just became available.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Philadelphia Eagles are releasing safety Kevin Byard.

One of the NFL’s best safeties since entering the league in 2016 out of Middle Tennessee State, Byard was a two-time First-Team All-Pro with the Tennessee Titans (2017 and 2021). However, with the team in rebuild mode this past year, Byard was dealt to the Eagles in a midseason trade.

It wasn’t enough to save the Eagles’ fledgling defense, though Byard still finished the year with a solid 74.0 PFF grade while recording 122 total tackles, one interception, and three pass deflections across 16 games.

The Eagles are cutting Byard in large part due to saving $13.7 million in cap space with only about $350,000 in dead money. He’s still good enough to be a major boost to the Bengals defense.

If not Byard, the Bengals should still be taking a hard look at veteran safeties this offseason. Do you think they should sign Byard or someone else? Let us know in the comments section!

Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts