The Buffalo Bills’ 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was tough to watch not just because they were outplayed and outcoached, but also because it was likely the last home game at Highmark Stadium for several players, including safety Jordan Poyer.
After a nasty helmet-to-helmet collision with Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White in the fourth quarter kept Poyer out for the rest of the game, his mother, who had not posted on her Facebook page since 2021, had a candid message for Bills Mafia.
“Brief text from Jordan for those of you worried. He’s going to be okay,” Julie Poyer wrote. “Some of the most emotional and stressful moments have come while watching him play football. Injuries happen. Those moments between seeing the injury on T.V. and hearing from him are not easy. Worried, stressed, anxious I search Twitter for in-time updates. Bad idea.”
She also addressed fans’ criticism of her son, who will become a free agent in the offseason after the Bills did not further extend the four-year, $13 million deal he signed in 2017 and extended for two years and $19 million in 2020.
“Most Bills fans are amazing. Searching twitter for an injury update I saw a lot of hate from fans,” her post continued. “The theme is to send Jordan packing. (He is a FA now.) Jordan has given so much of himself to this team. He’s played injured since week 4, unable to get healthy. Missing practice all week, he continued to get cleared to play. Cleared on Friday, or a couple of times – game day decision. If you know Jordan, you know he will give whatever % he has in his tank, when cleared. Not once since week 4 was he 100%.
“I can be honest now,” the post concluded. “There were several games I did not want him playing. For clarity, I am that mom who told him to tape a broken foot and finish a game. I am so proud of him. Not how he wanted to end the season. He is a competitor through and through. I know he gave everything he had mentally and physically. He is a supastar.”
The Bills Gave Poyer a Restructured Deal, Not an Extension
Poyer, who’s played for the Bills since 2017, will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, even though he’s made it clear that his preference would be to remain in Buffalo. The 31-year-old safety, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and wife, Rachel Bush, campaigned hard for an extension last year, but the Bills did not secure the All-Pro, instead offering him a restructured deal with much higher incentives.
The Bills went 13-1 this year when Poyer was active, and with fellow All-Pro safety Micah Hyde hitting IR in Week 2, he pulled a lot of weight as both a player and mentor on defense. While injuries seemed to limit his performances, he finished the regular season with a 75.4 overall rating from Pro Football Focus, with 46 solo tackles, 4 interceptions and 16 receptions allowed. In 2021, Poyer tallied 61 solo tackles, 5 interceptions and 13 receptions allowed.
Poyer, who will turn 32 in April, is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agent safeties this offseason.
The Bills Have Several Players Becoming Unrestricted Free Agents This Offseason
Bills general manager Brandon Beane will have to make several tough decisions when it comes to who stays and who goes this offseason, especially since Josh Allen’s salary comes with a $39.7 million cap hit in 2023, per Spotrac.com, Stefon Diggs’ new extension comes with an approximately $20.3 million hit, and Von Miller’s deal depletes another $18.7 million.
The Bills preemptively picked up Ed Oliver’s fifth-year option in April, which locked the 24-year-old defensive tackle through the 2023 NFL season and included a $7 million raise in salary. And then one day before the season opener, the team offered 26-year-old tight end Dawson Knox a four-year, $53 million extension, which doesn’t bode well for Poyer’s future in Buffalo.
While the Bills will have to figure out what to do with the veterans they re-signed toward the end of the season, such as John Brown and Cole Beasley, per ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Buffalo’s key unrestricted free agents include linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker A.J. Klein, guard Rodger Saffold, running back Devin Singletary, punter Sam Martin, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, defensive end Shaq Lawson, along with offensive linemen David Quessenberry and Greg Van Roten.