Bills Could Trade Safety Damar Hamlin Before 2024 Season: Analyst

Damar Hamlin

Getty Damar Hamlin looks on during a Buffalo Bills preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Buffalo Bills lost two of their longest-tenured players when safety Micah Hyde hit free agency and fellow safety Jordan Poyer was released, and one analyst believes another change could be coming to the secondary.

In a post-draft rundown of the team’s roster, The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia predicted that fourth-year safety Damar Hamlin could be facing a fight for his job this summer after the Bills added talent in free agency and the NFL draft.

Buscaglia predicted that the Bills could also look to trade Hamlin.

“Hamlin looks like he’s on the outside looking in on the roster this year,” Buscaglia wrote. “The Bills’ trading him at some point before the season would not be a surprise, either.”

After a long-term injury to Hyde in 2022 thrust Hamlin into the starting lineup, he took a major step back in 2023 and appeared in just five games. While the drop in playing time may have been due in part to Hamlin’s recovery from suffering cardiac arrest on the field the previous season, Buscaglia predicted that Hamlin may have been surpassed by some of the team’s newly added safeties.

Safety ‘Up in the Air’ for Bills This Season

Buscaglia predicted that starting jobs are “entirely up in the air” after the departures of Hyde and Poyer, but noted that the returning Taylor Rapp and second-round draft pick Cole Bishop likely have the inside track.

“Rapp seems the safest bet to be on the first team through the spring and summer,” Buscaglia wrote. “It would not be surprising if the Bills gave Bishop, [Mike] Edwards and [Cam] Lewis a chance to earn it with the top unit in practice.”

That could mean an uphill battle for Hamlin, who could find himself on the outside of the roster bubble this summer.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane has not been shy about trading away players who fall to the edge of the roster bubble, especially late in the summer. The team traded defensive end Boogie Basham to the New York Giants in an August 2023 move, adding a seventh-round draft pick to the mix in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Bills Praised for Adding Young Safety

The Bills earned some praise for selecting Bishop with their second-round pick, with Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon calling it their best-value pick of the entire draft.

Kenyon predicted that Bishop could help fill the void left by the departures of Hyde and Poyer.

“In recent years, Buffalo has leaned on veterans Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde at safety,” Kenyon wrote. “However, Poyer signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency, and Hyde remains a free agent. As a result, the selection of Cole Bishop (ranked 41st by B/R) is especially timely for Buffalo—which picked up the safety in the closing moments of the second round at No. 60 overall.”

There could still be another addition coming. Beane told reporters on April 18 that he had been in discussions with Hyde and was not sure what the veteran safety planned to do next. If Hyde continued his NFL career, the Bills would be open to bringing him back, Beane said.

“I don’t think he’s 100% on a decision either way,” Beane told reporters.

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