The Buffalo Bills kicked off free agency by addressing the safety position. How excited should we be about Micah Hyde?
At the start of free agency, the Buffalo Bills needed to add significant depth to their roster, but with very little salary cap to work with. We will break down each signing and what they bring to the table, but to start we are going to look at the Buffalo Bills’ biggest signings thus far — Micah Hyde.
While you may have been distracted with head scratching after the Bills signed 2 fullbacks, you may have missed the Bills also signed 2 new safeties.
Micah Hyde comes to the Bills from the Green Bay Packers and Jordan Poyer arrives from the Cleveland Browns.
Hyde, 26, is a strong safety that signed a 5 year $30.5 million contract as soon as free agency opened. With limited cap space, a salary like the one Hyde gets stands out more. Hyde could very well be the highest paid Bills free agent this offseason.
The contract dollars state that Hyde will be a starting defensive back for the Bills in each of the next 2 seasons. The Buffalo Bills won’t be able to cut Hyde without losing money on the deal until 2020. His cap hit as a starting safety will not get about $6.75 million in any season, and that cap figure is in his final year.
The goal is for Hyde to hit his prime during this contract and be a top-tier AFC safety. If Hyde struggles with Sean McDermott’s system, the Bills may not be able to get out of his contract until 2020, but they could gain $3 million and $5 million (if cut in 2021), to gain valuable cap flexibility.
Role in 2017
What Micah Hyde brings is versatility. Hyde referenced himself in his introductory press conference as a safety who returns kicks. He will be expected to be much more than that, he has coverage abilities like a corner, and can cover tight ends.
Hyde will be starting at one of the safety spots for the Bills. His contract almost makes that a certainty. As the biggest ticket free agent this off-season, Hyde will also be looked at by teammates, fans and coaches to lead in attitude on and off the field. His preparation and practice habits should scrutinized, because he is the first investment of the McDermott Era.
I won’t be doing grades on every free agent signing, because I can’t tell you it was good or bad until I see how these guys play in Buffalo.
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The most intriguing thing I like about Hyde is that he can be a secret weapon in defensive coverage. He should be big enough to cover all tight ends, and fast enough to cover slot receivers. Hyde can disguise coverages by simply having the multitude of talents that he has.
Hyde also was a serviceable returner on special teams while in Green Bay. Early on the Buffalo Bills‘ free agent signings almost all have significant special teams backgrounds. These are players that haven’t had an easy road to stay in the NFL.
Hyde, Patrick DiMarco, Lorenzo Alexander and Jordan Poyer have all had to contribute on special teams during their NFL careers.
Hyde’s contract may be the largest for the Buffalo Bills this offseason. The message is that all Bills will need to be ready to contribute on all facets of the team. The new coaching staff values hard work over shear talent.
Following the addition of Hyde were corresponding releases of Aaron Williams and Corey Graham.
Next I will preview the other safety signing, Jordan Poyer, who’s role isn’t as clear as Hyde’s.