Buffalo has not always been known as a marquee destination for free agents, but one Bills star wants the league to know that things have changed.
Safety Micah Hyde spoke out this week about the roadblocks once in the way of recruiting players to come to cold and snowy Western New York, saying there’s a big difference now that the team is led by an MVP candidate.
Hyde Leading Recruiting Efforts
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Hyde said he’s been reaching out to potential free agents to let them know that Buffalo is a different team now thanks to the team’s strong defense and MVP runner-up quarterback.
“That’s kind of the pitch I have to free agents; yeah, it’s going to snow, but this isn’t the old Buffalo, this is the new Buffalo, this is the Josh Allen Buffalo,” Hyde said. “We’re winning ballgames, scoring points, and playing well on defense. I’m excited to see what (GM Brandon) Beane and (coach) Sean (McDermott) are able to do with some free agents.”
The Allen-led team was able to reach heights not seen in close to three decades in Buffalo, tying a franchise high with 13 wins and reaching the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1994.
Coming to Buffalo wasn’t always an idea that Hyde embraced, however. The last time he hit free agency, Hyde admitted that he didn’t like the thought of playing for yet another cold-weather franchise.
“I was getting love from Buffalo and I was like, ‘Cool,’ but I remember having a conversation with my agent before that and was saying, ‘Look, man. I grew up in cold Ohio. I went to Iowa, I was in Green Bay. C’mon, man. Let’s go to a warm city, and maybe like… not Buffalo,” Hyde said, via USA Today’s Bills Wire.
Bills Already Making Moves
Buffalo has already made a number of key moves this offseason, including locking down Hyde. The team announced that they agreed to a two-year extension that keeps him through 2023.
As the USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Hyde was one of the first major signings after the team hired McDermott in 2017. That year, he helped lead the Bills to the first winning season in three years and broke a 17-year playoff drought.
The Bills have made other moves to shore up the defense this offseason. Earlier in the week, the team kept Pro Bowl linebacker Matt Milano from hitting the open market, signing him to a 4-year, $44 million extension.
In signing, Milano said he was excited to be coming back and echoed Hyde’s sentiment that there is a new feel in Buffalo.
“I just told my agent, ‘I love Buffalo. I want to be in Buffalo. I love what they got going on there and see if we can make something happen,’” Milano said, via Pro Football Talk. “I think that’s what we did. It was a fair deal kind of for both sides. The culture that’s brewing there right now is unreal. We got a little taste of it last year and the past four years. It’s something that I want to continue on for the next four years.”