The Buffalo Bills have two of the league’s best safeties—even if some national media types don’t acknowledge how great they are. The two safeties arrived in Buffalo in head coach Sean McDermott’s first season, and they’ve been a big part of the reason why the Bills’ defense has become an elite unit.
When Buffalo signed their starting safeties, one player received a much larger contract than the other, and while both have obviously been outstanding players, it’s been the one with the lesser contract who’s been the more complete player. Both players fill up the stats sheet, however, and both are versatile enough to cover players in the slot, blitz, and drop back 40 yards off the line to prevent deep throws.
In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile the more heralded acquisition of Buffalo’s elite safety pair.
Name: Micah Hyde
Height/Weight: 6’, 197 lbs
Age: 29 (30 on 12/31/2020)
Experience/Draft: 8; selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round (No. 159 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 3/9/17
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Hyde enters the fourth year of his five-year, $30.5 million free-agent contract he signed in 2017. Of that total amount, Hyde is guaranteed $14 million. All of those guarantees have been paid out already. Hyde’s cap number for the 2020 season is $6.7 million, and the Bills would owe a dead-cap charge of $3.7 million if they were to release or trade Hyde prior to Week 1.
2019 Recap: Hyde had another solid year overall, placing fifth on the team in tackles with 72 combined. He had two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, one tackle for a loss, and one quarterback hit on the year. Hyde filled in for primary kickoff and punt return man Andre Roberts when the All-Pro returner was injured. Hyde returned three punts for 16 yards, and he also returned two kickoffs for 47 yards and a touchdown on an onside kick attempt.
Positional outlook: Hyde will start at safety opposite Jordan Poyer. Jaquan Johnson, Dean Marlowe, Garrett Thompson, and Josh Thomas will battle for reserve spots. Siran Neal is listed as a safety, but he primarily plays nickel corner in Buffalo’s “Big Nickel” defense. Neal is also currently on the COVID-19 list, so he isn’t participating at the team facility as of yet.
2020 Offseason: Hyde spoke positively of his former collegiate coach, Kirk Ferentz, in an ESPN article detailing Iowa players accusations of racial bias against the coaching staff.
2020 Season outlook: Hyde is no longer the highest-paid safety on the roster, with Poyer’s contract extension giving him that honor, so the balance of pay vs. production finally lines up with regard to Buffalo’s two safeties. Hyde is a fantastic fit in this defense—he’s a great player with sound instincts who can fill a variety of roles. He is half of one of the league’s best safety duos, and while he was given a contract to be Batman, he has been more like Robin in this pairing. The best part is that the Bills have their dynamic duo under contract through the end of the 2021 season. Expect another great year from the Buffalo defense with Hyde playing a tremendous role yet again.