Day one for the Bills in free agency was a solid A-.
It’s hard to see anyone looking back and thinking “this was the day the Bills made the 2017 playoffs”, but they got good players at positions of need (depending on your opinion of the NEED for a fullback in this era of NFL) for reasonable prices.
Micah Hyde is a huge get and not just because he’s a huge get.
For a Bills secondary that officially sprung three leaks the last two days (departures by Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams and Nickell Robey-Coleman), adding a player that potentially could fill all of them is extremely smart.
It gives Doug Whaley and McDermott the flexibility to add whatever is best to the rest of the secondary, knowing whatever hole is left over, Hyde can fill it. He’s even a quality special teamer.
Hyde got good money, but it’s still (for the second) 18th in the league and more than two million less per year than what Jairus Byrd makes.
This would have been a hotly chased second level free agent and the Bills swiped him quickly and very quiet like. The Jets reportedly had interest, but didn’t inquire until Thursday. Way too late to beat the Bills.
Stephen Hauschka is intriguing as well. Two seasons ago, he seemed poised to become one of the game’s elite kickers.
The extra point numbers are a concern, even when you consider the blocks. He also missed two field goals from inside 30 yards in 2016, including one in overtime against the Cardinals (you know, the 6-6 game).
Not to mention, the Seahawks, who have a Super Bowl on the line every season, seem content at the moment to go with a guy who blew a 27 yarder against them in the playoffs–Blair Walsh–than pay Hauschka.
He was still the fourth most accurate in the league for field goal accuracy in 2016, and was more accurate in 2015.
Hauschka may simply need a change of scenery. And a change of O-Lines. The Bills weren’t going to find anyone better on the street.
Vlad Ducasse and Jordan Poyer are just guys. Poyer at least is young, entering his fifth season like Hyde.
If you’re gonna use a fullback in the NFL today, DiMarco is the guy to get. His four year, eight million dollar contract is a drop in the bucket.
THE NEWS STORY HITTING WIRES (IF WE STILL USED WIRES)
The Bills jumped into the party pool of free agency shoulder high when things officially opened on Thursday.
Micah Hyde was the big cocktail. The 26 year old versatile defensive back signed with the Bills for 5 years and 30 million dollars. Reportedly, 14 million was guaranteed.
Hyde has played safety and nickel back the last four season in Green Bay. He has eight interceptions for his career and three each of the last two seasons.
While the Packers secondary was dreadful, Hyde still stood out.
“He’s played multiple positions. He’s played the nickel position, the corner position and the safety position,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said. “We just felt like this was a great value for us and [he’s] a good football player – and he’s played in big games, so we’re very fortunate to have Micah.”
Hyde wasn’t the only defensive back added Thursday. The Bills also signed safety Jordan Poyer from the Browns.
Poyer had his 2016 season ended early when he was on the receiving end of a vicious crackback block from Tennessee’s Antonio Andrews in October.
The hit sent Poyer immediately to the hospital. He suffered a lacerated kidney and went on injured reserve.
The previous two seasons, Poyer played 30 of 32 games with one sack and two interceptions.
McDermott sees similarities in both DBs.
“Versatility, smarts, intangibles, toughness is where you start,” he said. “And then you look at the skill set on the field – ball skills, the ability to take the football away and score on defense or set up our offense in scoring position will be big for us moving forward, and just the ability to run the defense and be that quarterback in the secondary was big for us.”
Buffalo’s third surprise on Thursday was a new kicker–Stephen Hauschka from Seattle.
His last two seasons have been rough. Hauschka has ten missed extra points since the start of 2015 and missed ten kicks total last year.
Departed Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed a league high 11 in 2016.
However, Hauschka had seven of those ten missed PATs blocked and was the victim of six blocks total in 2016.
The other two day one signings for the Bills were strongly rumored on Wednesday.
Highly rated fullback Patrick DiMarco comes to Buffalo from the Falcons on a 4 year, $8 million dollar deal. He only has 38 touches (one carry) in four seasons, but is an elite blocker.
Journeyman lineman Vlad Ducasse also signed officially Thursday. He’s been almost exclusively a guard in his seven year NFL career, but played 35 games of left tackle at UMass.
The Bills gave him a three year contract. Since Buffalo seems set at guard with Richie Incognito and John Miller, there’s speculation Ducasse may get a shot at the right tackle job occupied by Jordan Mills.