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The Buffalo Bills had an excellent 2020 season as a team, but position-by-position is a different story. Some were better than others and as the offseason is now in full swing, Bills Wire will give a quick analysis of the team’s current roster by reflecting on the season that was and looking ahead to 2021.
Next up, here is our breakdown on the team’s safety unit:
Bills strong safety Micah Hyde. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Signed for 2021:
Micah Hyde: $6.7M cap hit ($1.6M dead cap)
Jordan Poyer: $7.9M cap hit ($2M dead cap)
Josh Thomas: $780K cap hit ($0 dead cap)
Jaquan Johnson: $896.1K ($92.2K dead cap)
Pending free agents & 2020 contract:
Dean Marlowe: $1.3M cap hit
Player-by-player 2020 review
Bills free safety Jordan Poyer. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Hyde (30): Hyde was steady as she goes in 2020 for the Bills. Consistently a strong fit in Sean McDermott's defensive scheme, Hyde plays his role and is rarely beat. In terms of this year, Hyde was not exactly the ballhawk that we've seen in the past. Stats: 70 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 passes defended, 1 INT Poyer (29): Hyde was a 2017 Pro Bowler and neither him or Poyer in Buffalo's starting tandem ascended to those levels since. The closest was Poyer this past year who did have a case as a snub for the game. While flashing some turnover skills, Poyer was all over the field for the Bills this past season and impressed in doing so, especially near the line of scrimmage. Stats: 124 tackles, 4 for loss, 5 passes defended, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 sacks Marlowe (28): As the No. 3 safety for the Bills behind the starting duo, he saw limited playing time in 2020, just like the past few seasons. However, he did get on the stat sheet, including his first few career interceptions. Stats: 22 tackles, 2 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 INTs Johnson (25): Appearing in 14 games for the Bills, Johnson only played 49 snaps on defense. He was primarily a special teams ace. Stats: 4 tackles Thomas (24): Thomas, an undrafted rookie, spent the bulk year on Buffalo's practice squad. He appeared in two games and made one tackle as a special teamer. Stats: 1 tackle
Bills strong safety Micah Hyde, Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills' safety duo has been remarkable since 2017. While the play of Poyer and Hyde might not be the top-safety tandem this past year because the entire defense struggled, they were still good. It's crazy to think that they've been at such a high level together for so long. Pro Football Focus has even suggested that theses two play so well because they happen to play as teammates and wouldn't be as good if they were on separate clubs. The other impressive aspect is how healthy both guys have been. Knock on wood that this continues. But with that word, expect that to be the 2021 outlook for this group... a "continuation" of sorts. Marlowe is the only pending free agent and one can envision a veteran minimum deal for him or something close to it. Thomas and Johnson will hope to find their worth on special teams with the latter being more of a lock as a specialist.