The Buffalo Bills have done a phenomenal job limiting long pass plays over the last four seasons. The Bills are consistently in the top-third of the league in fewest passing plays of 20-plus and 40-plus yards allowed, and they even led the league in both categories during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Much of this is due to fantastic performances by the team’s top two safeties. Sure, some of it is scheme specific, but at the end of the day, it’s players executing a scheme that make it work. Thanks to Buffalo’s elite safeties, the team has been able to maintain one of the league’s better pass defenses since head coach Sean McDermott arrived.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one-half of one of the NFL’s best safety duos.
Name: Micah Hyde
Height/Weight: 6’ 197 lbs.
Age: 30 (31 on 12/31/2021)
Acquired: Signed as UFA on 3/9/2017
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Hyde signed a two-year contract extension to stay with the Bills last offseason; that extension kicks in next season, but there is some added money in 2021. Hyde’s cap hit is $6,564,705, and the Bills would incur a dead-cap charge of $10.2 million if he were to be released.
2020 Recap: Hyde had another solid season for the Bills, finishing fifth on the team in tackles with 70. He suited up in 15 of the team’s regular-season games. Hyde had five pass breakups, one interception, and one tackle for loss. The numbers aren’t sexy, but Hyde finds himself positioned as the deep-middle safety more often than not, so he is usually the literal safety valve for the defense. Teams just aren’t going to push the ball downfield that often with a talent like him roaming in the back end.
Positional outlook: Hyde and backfield mate Jordan Poyer are poised to reprise their roles as the top two safeties on the depth chart, and they should also continue to be one of the top safety duos in the NFL. There’s not much behind those two in terms of real playing experience, as the most tenured member of the safety group other than Hyde or Poyer is third-year man Jaquan Johnson. Josh Thomas, whom the Bills signed as a UDFA last offseason, joins rookies Damar Hamlin and Tariq Thompson as the other safeties on the current roster.
2021 Offseason: Hyde is ready to roll for training camp
2021 Season outlook: The Bills are lucky to have Hyde, who was a budding jack-of-all-trades type in Green Bay before coming to Buffalo and mastering one. He’s been a great leader and player for McDermott’s club, and there aren’t many people who better personify exactly what the new regime has done than Hyde, who came to Buffalo when times were tough and has been among the club’s biggest cheerleaders ever since. Even if Hyde isn’t elected to another Pro Bowl like he was in 2017, the fact remains that he is an upper-echelon safety in a league where limiting explosive plays in the passing game is essential to success. The Bills have a great one here, and Hyde seems to have plenty of gas left in the tank.