The Philadelphia Eagles started off the regular season with second-year pro Reed Blankenship and veteran Justin Evans as their starting safeties and veteran Terrell Edmunds and promising rookie third-round pick Sydney Brown as the backups leading up to the opener against the host New England Patriots.
So, they seemed set with the four players, and they drafted Brown to eventually be a starter — as early as this season. But things have changed of late.
From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!
The Ever-Changing Eagles Defense
Blankenship has missed two games this season due to separate ribs injuries, Evans (knee) is currently on injured reserve, and Brown (hamstring) just returned from a three-game absence.
MORE: Grade the Trade: Kevin Byard Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles
Thus, the coaches used Edmunds, who was relegated to just special teams duty during the team’s Week 5 win over the host Los Angeles Rams, in the starting lineup next to Brown during Sunday’s win over the visiting Miami Dolphins, and they used UDFA CB Mekhi Garner as a backup safety for the second straight game.
With the situation at safety quite a mess of late, the team acquired two-time All-Pro Kevin Byard from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for Edmunds and 2024 fifth and sixth-round picks.
The Eagles had been looking into the safety position and others recently, a league source said, and they were able to add an established veteran in Byard, who grew up in the Philadelphia area.
Byard, 30, agreed to a pay reduction with the Titans before training camp started, which lowered his total compensation for this season of $14.1 million to $11 million.
The $11 million is comprised of a $4 million base salary and a $7 million signing bonus. The Eagles will be responsible for only the prorated remaining portion of his base salary. His base salary of $9.6 million is not guaranteed for the 2024 season, which is the final year of his contract.
Byard, like Blankenship, played collegiately at Middle Tennessee State.