The Buffalo Bills dealt with a lot of turnover at the safety position last year. While now-departed Corey Graham was a stalwart in 2016, none of the other safeties on the roster played more than a third of the team’s defensive snaps.
Not one safety who took a snap with the defense last year remains on the roster (two nominal safeties, Colt Anderson and Shamiel Gary, played exclusively with special teams). Needless to say, a lot will be expected of the new arrivals in 2017, with one particular player expected to put an end to the instability at the free safety spot.
Name: Jordan Poyer
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 191 lbs.
College: Oregon State
Draft: Round 7, Pick 218 by the Philadelphia Eagles (2013)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Poyer signed a four-year deal with the Bills this offseason. His cap hit in 2017 is just a hair under $2.5 million before it rises to $3.375 million for the final three years of the deal. The dead money hit falls below the cap hit in 2019, so he’ll likely be a Bill for at least the next two seasons.
2016 Recap: Poyer started all six games he appeared in for the Cleveland Browns last year before he suffered a lacerated kidney during a 28-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He finished with 36 tackles, just one less than he recorded in 14 games the previous season. He didn’t record an interception, but was credited with two pass breakups.
Positional Outlook: Behind Poyer and fellow free agent signee Micah Hyde, the safety position is filled with the aforementioned special teamers and a handful of undrafted free agents. Any battle for a roster spot is happening below Poyer’s level.
2017 Season Outlook: Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Poyer is going to open the year as the Bills’ starting free safety. Like Aaron Williams , Poyer played cornerback in college and has plenty of range and good tackling ability while lacking a bit when it comes to ball skills. He seemed to be on a good path last season prior to his injury; if the 26-year-old can continue to develop in Buffalo, he’ll be a solid player in the secondary for the next few years.