The Buffalo Bills have two of the league’s best safeties. This is a huge part of the reason why their pass defense has been so good over the last few years, as teams find it exceptionally difficult to complete chunk plays against the group. Since they then have to continuously complete long drives, it allows Buffalo’s defense to stop even the best of offenses regularly.
What would happen if one, or both, of the team’s top safeties were lost for an extended period? We almost had to answer that question early on in camp, but thankfully, both players avoided serious injury. For now, we can continue to revel in the glory that is having two top-caliber safeties at once.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss the second half of the league’s best safety duo.
Name: Micah Hyde
Height/Weight: 6’ 197 lbs
Age: 31 (32 on 12/31/2022)
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 3/9/2017
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Hyde signed a two-year contract extension last offseason. That deal is worth a total of $19.25 million, of which $15.8 million is guaranteed. This season is the first year that he’ll play under that extension. He carries a cap number of $5.656 million, and the Bills would be on the hook for a dead-cap number of $10.68 million if he were to be released or traded.
2021 Recap: Hyde had another outstanding season last year, playing in all 17 games and on 95% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. He was fifth on the team in tackles with 74, and he tied for first in interceptions with five—a distinction he shared with fellow safety Jordan Poyer. Hyde added two quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, one sack, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, and a team-high ten pass breakups. He also scored a touchdown on defense, returning a Patrick Mahomes interception for a score in Buffalo’s 38-20 victory in Week 5. He returned four punts for 37 yards in the regular season, as well. In the playoffs, Hyde returned a punt 52 yards against the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round, and it would have been a touchdown if he weren’t tripped by teammate Tyrel Dodson. He also made an absurd interception of Mac Jones in the first quarter, coming in from Tonawanda to make the grab in the end zone before Nelson Agholor could score a touchdown. He had six total tackles and a pass breakup during the playoffs in addition to that interception. Hyde was named Second-Team All-Pro for his efforts.
Positional outlook: Hyde is once again poised to start alongside Poyer, with Damar Hamlin, Jaquan Johnson, and Josh Thomas working for the right to back them up on game day. Siran Neal, Christian Benford, and Nick McCloud have also seen some run at safety this offseason.
2022 Offseason: Hyde suffered a hip injury last week when he landed awkwardly after making an interception during training camp. It looked bad at first, but he was listed as day-to-day. He has since returned to practice.
2022 Season outlook: Hyde is signed through his age-33 season at a reasonable price, and I expect that he’ll play just as well this year and beyond as he has previously. Hyde is a versatile piece for head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier to use, as he’s just as effective in man or zone, in the box or deep, blitzing or spying. His partnership with Poyer, another versatile piece, can’t be underestimated, as both players have experience at corner to fall back on in coverage with the tenacity to go hit someone, too. With Poyer having suffered an elbow hyperextension, it will be that much more important to keep Hyde healthy through the preseason.
Hopefully, the team can find an answer at punt returner so that they don’t need to use Hyde there, because as good as he is at doing it, his value to the defense is so great that they can’t really afford to expose him to further abuse. Hyde is a great player and a phenomenal leader. He’ll be back doing what he does best come September, and hopefully he’ll keep doing it through February.