While the Buffalo Bills made a splash by signing former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harty on Wednesday, March 15, the team’s official announcement regarding the return of Jordan Poyer came as the biggest surprise of the day.
NFL Network‘s Cameron Wolfe tweeted he spoke to Poyer at 1 p.m. ET, “Who said he verbally agreed to return to Bills 45 mins ago. Poyer checked out the market but felt his age (32 next month) limited his interest so deal wasn’t all he wanted. But happy to be back w/ teammates & knows they can compete for title.”
After the news was announced, Poyer’s first tweet was a message to his longtime teammate, fellow safety Micah Hyde. Poyer tweeted, “.@Micah_hyde hey bud 😎👋🏾.” Hyde retweeted Poyer’s message and wrote, “😂🤝🏽 #NYtaxesAreStillTrash.”
Poyer replied, “Ayoo!!! no lies detected 😭I’m cryin bro ! Love you Brodie 🤞🏾 🤣.”
Hyde, 32, is referencing the comments Poyer made on his self-titled podcast while discussing his pending free agency: “A lot of people ask me, ‘Oh, if it wasn’t Buffalo, where would you go?’ I kind of ponder the question every once in a while. I would love to go to a state that doesn’t take half of my money… It’d be nice to be warm. It would be nice to see the sun, maybe, every week or so, every other week at least.”
After learning that Poyer was signing a two-year deal to stay in Buffalo, famous Bills fan Luke Russert tweeted, “Yes! Hope it’s enough to hire a good accountant,” while another man wrote, “NY taxes are buying the Bills a new stadium.”
There Will Be At Least 1 More Year of Hyde/Poyer in Buffalo
While Poyer powered through a hyper-extended elbow, sprained foot, rib injuries, a collapsed lung, and a torn meniscus throughout the 2022 NFL season, before a concussion suffered early in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game forced an early exit, Hyde missed nearly the entire year after suffering a herniated disc in Week 2.
Losing Hyde, one-half of the best safety duo in the NFL alongside Poyer, was a tough blow for the Bills. Last summer, USA Today’s Doug Farrar ranked Hyde, who’s under contract in Buffalo through the 2023 NFL season, as the 12th-best safety in the league.
“Hyde played all over the field while Poyer played mostly free safety. Hyde had 278 snaps in the box, 185 in the slot, 628 at free safety, 51 at the line, and four at outside cornerback,” Farrar wrote. “And on all those snaps, he allowed 20 catches on 29 targets for 211 yards, 38 yards after the catch, four touchdowns, six interceptions, and an opponent passer rating of 89.9. Not quite the shutdown performer he was in 2020, but Hyde was also responsible for many more takeaways.”
Since 2017, Poyer and Hyde started 79 games together in Buffalo before the latter required neck surgery. While Hyde worked hard to come back for the Bills’ postseason run, Buffalo’s loss to the Bengals closed the door on his return.
Poyer Called the 2022 NFL Season The ‘Toughest’ Year of His Career
After Hyde hit IR in Week 2, Poyer pulled a lot of weight as both a player and mentor on defense. Ahead of Week 6, Poyer rented a sprinter van and drove 15 hours to play against Kansas City after a rib injury made it unsafe for him to fly.
A historic blizzard forced the team to play (and win) three games in a 12-day span, and of course, the traumatic event of safety Damar Hamlin getting resuscitated on the field at Paycor Stadium on January 2.
“There are no moral victories. Only one team gets to win every year. But with what we had to deal with, if you’d have told people we’d be 13-3 going into the playoffs, I don’t know how many would have believed it,” Poyer said.
“I’ve told a couple people about this, but not out loud: Emotionally, physically, mentally, that was the toughest season I’ve ever been through in my 20-plus years of playing football. To continue to battle injuries and then on top of that dealing with all the adversity. I’m not a ‘woe is me’ kind of guy. I don’t need anybody to feel sorry for what I’m going through. I wanted to prove to everybody that I can still play even with the injuries.”
The Bills went 13-1 this year when Poyer was active. 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.
If both Hyde and Poyer can stay healthy during the 2023 NFL season, the Bills’ defense will be a force.