The Buffalo Bills have a depth problem at safety, and with the 2022 NFL trade deadline today at 4:00 PM Eastern, a window for this Super Bowl contender to address that concern is quickly closing.
The Bills entered Week 8 fresh off a bye and fielding perhaps the healthiest roster they had weeks. Through much of their Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers, the Bills managed to avoid injury setbacks. Then late in the game, safety Jordan Poyer suddenly wasn’t on the field. Word came in that trainers were attending to him, and the camera showed him on the sideline with a sling around his arm—the same one he previously injured this summer.
Bills S Jordan Poyer said that hopefully the MRI tomorrow is positive. He said that he felt a pop and that it’s different from the injury in camp.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) October 31, 2022
Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN reported late Sunday night that Poyer said he remains hopeful that the MRI results come back positive. He added that the injury in question was his feeling a pop, and that it was different than what happened during training camp. While we await information on the status of Poyer’s injury following imaging—head coach Sean McDermott did not provide an update on Monday—it’s worth taking a look at what options may be available to Buffalo if he were to miss significant time.
Already without safety Micah Hyde who was lost for the season due to a neck injury that required surgery, the Bills have recent experience in also replacing Poyer in the lineup. Buffalo faced the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 without either Poyer or Hyde, and their absence was significant—perhaps a huge factor in the Bills’ only loss on the season to this point. Reserve safeties Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson have filled in admirably, but the drop-off from Poyer/Hyde to Hamlin/Johnson is pronounced.
The following safeties are playing on contracts set to expire, at which point they’ll hit 2023 free agency as unrestricted free agents. (This list could also very well include Poyer.)
- Johnathan Abram (age 26), Las Vegas Raiders—A productive player on a struggling team, perhaps Abram could be available. His current contract pays him a manageable $2,873,799. If The Raiders are sellers, this could be a player of interest.
- Taylor Rapp (age 24), Los Angeles Rams—A fairly productive player who’s appeared in six games for the Rams in 2022. It’s doubtful the defending Super Bowl champs are sellers, though running back Cam Akers is said to be available.
- Will Harris (age 26), Detroit Lions—A good player in the prime of his career on a cost-controlled, one-year contract. At 1-6, the Lions could entertain offers, but it would further weaken an already terrible defense. Does Harris interest Beane?
- Julian Love (age 24), New York Giants—Yet another player putting together a good season through eight games played; also on a reasonable contract, and with youth on his side. There is of course, familiarity between the two front offices and coaching staffs—but the Giants are one of the NFL’s surprise teams in 2022.
- Dean Marlowe (age 30), Atlanta Falcons—A familiar name to Bills Mafia, Marlowe spent time with the Bills as a valuable reserve a few seasons back before leaving in free agency for Detroit. Now with the Falcons, Marlowe has appeared in eight games and put up decent numbers on a team that’s currently the surprise NFC South leader. This would be a very solid move for Beane to make, but how open to the idea is Atlanta, which currently looks down on its divisional foes?
While the best option might be to stay the course and finish the season with those players in house, should Poyer miss significant time, the team will need to add players to the mix because they’re already very thin at the position. The hope is to retain Poyer beyond 2022, and things have spun positively to this point for a return to Orchard Park.
We’ll continue to hope for positive news regarding Poyer, but this list may serve as a good jumping point to discuss what the team may do if their extremely talented and important safety is unavailable during a critical stretch of the season.