The Buffalo Bills have a very strong defensive secondary. At three of the four starting positions, Buffalo boasts players who rank among the best in the league at their respective positions, and last season they broke in an undrafted rookie free agent who fit perfectly within the defense.
When Buffalo initially signed its two starting safeties prior to the start of the 2017 season, however, there was some doubt as to just how good those two players would be. One of the two was coming off an injury-plagued season, while the other had been used as a Swiss-Army knife, playing both slot corner and safety, thus lending the impression in some circles that he wasn’t quite good enough to be a starter at either position.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile that jack-of-all-trades defensive back—a player in the midst of his prime who has been one of the league’s best safeties since signing with the Bills.
Name: Micah Hyde
Height/Weight: 6’ 197 lbs.
Age: 28 (29 on 12/31/19)
Acquired: Signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Bills on 3/9/17
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Hyde enters the third year of a five-year contract he signed in 2017, a pact which totals $30.5 million. Of that total, $14 million was guaranteed to him. For the 2019 season, Hyde carries the eighth-highest cap charge on the Bills’ roster at $6,618,750. If Buffalo were to release or trade him, they would be on the hook for a dead cap hit of $5.3 million.
2018 Recap: Hyde played in 15 games, starting all of them, missing only the Bills’ Week 5 match-up with the Tennessee Titans. A groin injury suffered the week prior against his former team, the Packers, kept him briefly sidelined. In his 15 games, Hyde finished fifth on the Bills in total tackles with 58. He intercepted two passes, made five deflections, recovered one fumble, and made one tackle for a loss. While it was a sharp downturn statistically from Hyde’s Pro Bowl 2017 season, he was excellent in coverage, and he was graded an 84 overall by Pro Football Focus for his efforts, making him the sixth-best safety in the league according to the analytics outlet.
Positional outlook: Hyde enters the season as the unquestioned starter alongside fellow Bills’ free-agent-class-of-2017-member Jordan Poyer. Veterans Rafael Bush and Dean Marlowe will battle second-year man Siran Neal, who is transitioning to more of a nickel corner role, and rookie Jaquan Johnson for backup spots.
2019 Offseason: Hyde has participated in all offseason workouts to date. He also hosted a charity softball game to benefit the IMagINe for Youth foundation.
2019 Season outlook: Hyde will start, barring injury or some other oddity, for as long as he is healthy this year. His versatility, willingness to hit holes hard in the run game, and prowess in pass coverage make him one of the more perfect fits for head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s defense.