Bills GM Brandon Beane Admits Cutting Slew of Starters Was ‘Brutal’

Brandon Beane

Getty Bills general manager Brandon Beane at the NFL Combine on February 27, 2024.

When the Buffalo Bills suddenly took an axe to their roster on March 6, fans and analysts were stunned. In the span of a few hours, Bills general manager Brandon Beane released six veterans.

The abrupt goodbyes to Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, and Mitch Morse — longtime pillars of the Bills roster, were particularly tough. During an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Beane said the process was “brutal,” albeit, necessary.

“You don’t want to do it. And it’s not that they can’t play, it’s the business part of it,” Beane explained on March 26. “And you can’t fit all these salaries in and we’re having to make a little bit of a youth movement on the back of your defense. We did need to get younger in some areas and the business part makes you do it.”

The Bills entered the offseason $43.3 million over the $255.4 million cap limit. After restructuring several contracts and letting players like Gabe Davis and Leonard Floyd walk in free agency, the Bills have approximately “$6 to $7 million” available in space, Beane told reporters on March 24. That does not include the $10 million Buffalo will receive with White’s June 1 release.

Making those calls to Morse, Poyer, and White, “That’s the hard part about this job,” Beane said. “There are a lot of hard things, but it doesn’t get harder than saying goodbye to some of the names.”

Beane acknowledged how much of the teams’ success since 2017, making the playoff six times, and four AFC East titles, wouldn’t have happened without them. But he had to take the emotions out of it. By hitting the reset button now, Buffalo avoids the financial “mess” the team would’ve faced if he ran it back.

Brandon Beane Clarified That Micah Hyde Remains a Free Agent, Could Return in 2024

Micah Hyde

GettyFormer Bills safety Micah Hyde at Highmark Stadium on October 26, 2023.

While acknowledging the end of the All-Pro safety duo that was Poyer and Micah Hyde in Buffalo, Beane clarified to McAfee, “Micah is still a free agent.”

Hyde’s wife, Amanda Hyde, strongly indicated their time in Buffalo was done after the Bills were eliminated from the playoffs. But if Hyde doesn’t retire, a return to Orchard Park is possible, according to Beane.

“I’ve talked to his agent since I’ve talked to Micah, I don’t think he shut the door, yet. I think it’s still open, and we definitely wouldn’t shut the door to ever bring a Micah Hyde back, if he decides to play. I don’t know truly if he’s 100% one way or another.”

Considering the team’s cap space, there’s only so much money Buffalo could offer the 33-year-old veteran. “I mean, obviously, it would have to fit within the cap,” Beane acknowledged. “Maybe he says, ‘Hey, I’ll play for Buffalo or another team, but I’m not playing for less price.’ So it would still have to fit within the business model to make it work.”

The door is also open for White to return following his release. “I told him, I said, just because this move is now doesn’t mean it doesn’t work out for us to get you back in Buffalo,” Beane said.

The Bills Didn’t Take the Decision to Cut Mitch Morse ‘Lightly’

Due to age and injuries, releasing White and Poyer was difficult, but not a total surprise. Cutting Morse, however, was a shocking decision.

The former Bills team captain, who anchored the offensive line for quarterback Josh Allen since 2019, allowed the fewest sacks (24) of Allen’s career last season. At age 31, he showed no signs of slowing down, appearing in all 18 games. Releasing Morse saved the team $8.47 million while taking a $3 million cap hit.

“You don’t take that decision lightly, and it doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect decision,” Beane said. “But when we did sign Connor (McGovern) last year we did say, ‘Hey, this is a guy that could be a future center for us when his number’s called.”

Buffalo plans to shift McGovern, who they signed to a three-year, $27 million contract last offseason, to center, while David Edwards competes at left guard. “We didn’t know at that time that we’d call it this time but Connor has welcomed the opportunity and he’ll get his chance once we start lining up,” Beane said.

As for Morse, the Pro Bowler signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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