When a new head coach arrives, a team will often look to change the culture of the building into which that coach enters. For the Buffalo Bills and head coach Sean McDermott, that involved bringing in players who fit the mold of their head coach. Sometimes, coaches bring along lots of their former players, and the Bills have been mocked, both seriously and jokingly, for becoming the Carolina Panthers north.
Sometimes, though, that coach is able to sign a free agent who helps to change the entire culture of the team. In McDermott’s case, he was able to sign two right at the opening of his first free-agent period as a head coach. Oddly enough, both of those players occupy the same position, and for the better part of the last five years, they’ve made up the best safety duo in the league.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those safeties, an All-Pro player who may be entering his last season with the Bills.
Name: Jordan Poyer
Height/Weight: 6’ 191 lbs
Age: 31 (32 on 4/25/2023)
Experience/Draft: 10; selected in the seventh round (No. 218 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles
College: Oregon State
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 3/9/2017
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Poyer is in the final year of a two-year extension he signed in 2020. For the 2022 season, he carries a cap hit of $10,776,464. If he is released or traded before the season begins, Buffalo would be on the hook for a dead-cap charge of $4.1 million.
2021 Recap: Poyer continued his run of excellence with Buffalo, earning the first First-Team All-Pro nod of his career. He was, statistically, Buffalo’s best defender last year, as he did darn near everything for the Bills’ defense. He was second on the team in tackles (93), tied for first in interceptions (5), third in pass breakups (9), tied for first in fumble recoveries (2), tied for third in tackles for loss (8), and tied for fifth in sacks (3). He missed a game for the first time since the 2017 season, sitting against the Houston Texans in Week 4 due to an ankle injury he suffered the week prior in Buffalo’s victory over Washington. In the playoffs, Poyer had ten tackles and a forced fumble in Buffalo’s two games.
Positional outlook: Poyer and Micah Hyde return to comprise the league’s best safety duo yet again. Jaquan Johnson, Damar Hamlin, and Josh Thomas all return to battle for reserve spots.
2022 Offseason: Poyer did not attend the voluntary portion of the offseason workouts, as he has expressed a desire (or at least those around him have) for a new contract. He did attend mandatory minicamp in June.
2022 Season outlook: Poyer is a great player, and he has elevated both his game and the Buffalo defense throughout his tenure with the team. He’s an essential part of the squad this season, and he’s going to start every game that he’s healthy. The elephant in the room, though, is his contract situation. I’m sure the team would love to keep him; however, the Bills aren’t going to be able to pay everyone, and my gut tells me that Poyer is a guy they’ll grit their teeth and allow to walk at the end of the season.
It’s not necessarily what I prefer, but giving Poyer another two-year extension wouldn’t necessarily be good business, either. It’s a tightrope walk, really, where the team will have to see where Poyer thinks his value is, and then they’ll have to consider whether they want to meet that value. Matt Warren projected that a Poyer extension would come in at two years and $30 million. I’m not terribly optimistic that a deal is done, but I would be thrilled to be wrong. For now, we’ll just have to be happy to enjoy one of the guys whose arrival helped to usher in a new era in Buffalo football for at least one more ride.