Micah Hyde Will Either Play For Bills Or Retire In 2024

MAY 21: When speaking to the media Tuesday, McDermott confirmed (via 13WHAM’s Dan Fetes) the Bills are still open to a Hyde reunion. With neither side proceeding with much urgency, the potential for a deal could linger well into the offseason. Should Hyde attempt to play in 2024, though, the team is set to welcome him back.

MAY 16: The Bills were down nearly half their starting defense by the time their near-annual Chiefs playoff matchup occurred, but Micah Hyde was one of the cogs available. Hyde returned in 2023 after missing most of the 2022 season due to a neck injury.

Hyde’s second Bills contract — a two-year, $19.25MM extension — expired after the season, and the veteran safety remains a free agent. A pivotal addition in Sean McDermott‘s first offseason, Hyde is not planning to leave Buffalo. Hyde said Thursday (via WGRZ’s Jon Scott) 2024 plans consist of either re-signing with the Bills or retiring. Though, he has not decided on playing again just yet.

I really don’t know,” Hyde said, via the Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski. “You guys know … how difficult it was with my neck and having those stingers. So I just said, let me get away from it a little bit. And if the time comes and the juices get flowing again, then we’ll try to give it a spin. But, there’s no rush at all on my side.”

Hyde, 33, went down in Week 3 of the 2022 season, leading to Damar Hamlin‘s run of starts alongside Jordan Poyer. The seven-year Bills contributor returned last year in what turned out to be his last run with Poyer in Buffalo. Hyde started 14 games and intercepted two passes. Pro Football Focus graded the Iowa alum just outside the top 50 at the position. He also suffered two stingers, missing three games, upon returning from the neck issue. Past his prime, Hyde may see his pledge tested due to the Bills’ offseason activity.

Buffalo released Poyer a year after re-signing him, doing so shortly before re-signing Taylor Rapp. The Bills also added recent Chiefs fill-in starter Mike Edwards. Their most notable safety addition, however, came in the draft; the Bills chose Utah’s Cole Bishop in Round 2. This assortment, which still features Hamlin, stands to complicate a Hyde return. That said, the Bills will be much lighter on experience at this position compared to the past several years.

One of the longest-running safety tandems in modern NFL history, Hyde and Poyer gave the Bills a top-flight back-line duo for seven seasons. Hyde’s neck injury came a year after his second All-Pro season. The Bills made moves to cut costs at several positions this offseason, moving on from Poyer, Mitch Morse, Tre’Davious White and both their top wide receivers (though, the Stefon Diggs move was not exactly a money-saver). That said, Hyde would not qualify — especially given the state of the safety market — as a player who would command too much to return. His lack of desire to play elsewhere obviously would play into the Bills’ hands.

Hyde has been cleared to play, and GM Brandon Beane said earlier this offseason he did not expect the 11-year vet to retire. It appears likely the team will try its current setup at safety, but Hyde not being interested in relocating would stand to give the Bills an insurance option — should the ex-Packer indeed stick to his Buffalo-or-bust pledge — in the event its younger crew underwhelms in the months to come.

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