The revamped Buffalo Bills secondary played brilliantly for the majority of the 2017 NFL season. The safety play improved dramatically, and with two players holding down the back end of the defense for almost every snap during the season, it allowed the team to do some different things in terms of coverages.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at one of the most versatile and talented players on the Bills’ defense.
Name: Micah Hyde
Height/Weight: 6’ 197 lbs.
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Hyde enters the second year of a five-year pact signed with the Bills prior to last season. The contract is worth a total of $30.5 million. In 2018, Hyde will count $6.8 million against the salary cap, the fifth-highest number on the team. His cap hit is the second-highest in the NFL at his position, trailing only Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks (who, similarly to Eric Wood, is unable to play due to a neck injury, yet unable to retire due to the forfeiture of a substantial amount of money).
2017 Recap: Hyde had a breakout year in his first campaign in Orchard Park. He started all 16 games for the Bills, playing a total of 1,065 defensive snaps (96.12%). He made 82 tackles, including the second-highest number of solo tackles (65) on the squad. He tied for the team lead with 5 interceptions, and was tied for second on the team with 13 pass breakups, as well. He was named to his first Pro Bowl for his efforts, although he was unable to play in the game due to a concussion suffered in the playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Positional outlook: Hyde will start at strong safety once again, barring injury. Jordan Poyer remains the free safety. Battling for backup roles and special teams spots are Kelcie McCray, L.J. McCray, Siran Neal, Rafael Bush, and Dean Marlowe.
2018 Offseason: Hyde hosted a football camp in his hometown (Fostoria, Ohio) right before the start of mandatory minicamp. He has attended all offseason workouts and minicamp, running with the first-team defense as expected.
2018 season outlook: If Hyde continues to perform at the same level he did last year, his free agent signing will go down as one of the best in franchise history. After serving in a “jack-of-all-trades” role while with the Packers, playing both safety positions and slot corner at times, Hyde has found a home as Buffalo’s primary strong safety. His versatility helps the team to use multiple coverages and disguise those that are less exotic. Overall, Hyde is one of the best players on the Bills’ roster, and he should continue to thrive in head coach Sean McDermott’s defense.