The Mystery of Bills’ All-Pro Safety’s Contract Situation

August 23, 2022
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With the recent deal that Los Angeles Chargers safety, Derwin James signed, does this make things even harder for Brandon Beane and the Buffalo Bills to get All-Pro safety, Jordan Poyer extended?

First Thing’s First

Let me preface this by saying I am a huge Jordan Poyer supporter and hope we never see him play another down for any other team in the NFL. But it is time for us, Bills Mafia as a fan base, to have a real-life conversation. After seeing the contracts for the other top safeties in the league being given out this summer, Brandon Beane has a tall task at hand to keep All-Pro Po.

With the likes of Derwin James and Tyrann Mathieu being paid at the top of their position, where does that leave Jordan Poyer? After being snubbed yet again for the Pro Bowl last year, Poyer finally got the recognition he deserved being named First Team All-Pro. But does that mean he deserves the contract that the other two received this off-season?

First Years Of Greatness

Poyer has been one of, if not the biggest and best surprise in the entire McBeane era. In his high school days as a senior, Poyer was named his state’s offensive and defensive player of the year while recording 123 total touchdowns throughout his career as a quarterback and safety. Not only was he a stand-out football player but Jordan was also drafted in the 42nd round of the MLB draft by the Florida Marlins.

After choosing football instead of entering the farm system for baseball, Jordan selected Oregon State and played football from 2009 through 2012 as a cornerback. Not earning expansive playing time as a true freshman, he played in all 13 games and recorded 11 total tackles. In 2011 Poyer found his way onto the field via special teams as the main punt returner averaging 14.1 yards per return.

Jordan Poyer’s senior year at Oregon State he was a standout in every sense of the term. During that 2012 season, Poyer led the Pac-12 in interceptions with seven and 51 total tackles. After his standout campaign, he was named First-Team All Pac-12 and was a consensus First-Team All-American.

Finding His Way In The League

Jordan Poyer was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. During his rookie season, Poyer competed with the run-of-the-mill veterans and fellow late-round and undrafted free agent rookies to make the roster. After showing his prowess and passion, Jordan earned his way onto the 53-man roster as the fourth cornerback. During the season opener against the previously named Washington Redskins, Poyer recorded his first ever professional tackle.

After that game, Poyer didn’t see much playing time and ended up being relegated to strictly special teams before he was ultimately cut, after being a healthy scratch in the team’s previous two outings. Thankfully two days later Jordan found a new home in the Dog Pound and was claimed off of waivers by the Cleveland Browns to be the primary strong safety back up to T.J. Ward.

The following season, Poyer spent the year as Ward’s backup and playing special teams totaling 21 tackles with zero starts on the season. In 2015 Poyer returned to the Browns as a backup and ultimately made four starts. He began to shine on the field finishing with 43 total tackles, one sack, four pass breakups, and two interceptions.

Entering 2016 Poyer was named the starter after Tashaun Gipson left in free agency, finally getting the break he deserved. Unfortunately, after six games and six starts, Poyer suffered a lacerated kidney against the Titans putting him on the injured reserve list and ending his season and Browns career.

Hey-ey-ey-ey Let’s Join The Buffalo Bills!

On March 9, 2017, the Bills signed what most would say is the best safety tandem in the league currently when Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde both put pen to paper on the same day. Since then, the two have been inseparable and unmatched. These two guys have a chemistry and bond that is a thing of beauty.

Poyer started his Buffalo career with an absolute monster game against the Jets finishing with three tackles, two pass deflections, a sack, and an interception. In his first season, Poyer finished with 95 total tackles, 13 pass deflections, five interceptions, two sacks, and a touchdown. As Buffalo fans, we hadn’t seen safety play like that since the likes of Jarius Byrd.

Personally, if someone had told me the Bills and the defense would be where they are today when they signed Jordan, I don’t think I would’ve believed them honestly. What we have seen out of this safety duo is somewhat unheard of. The way Leslie Frazier can move them around the defense and interchanging their positions is just one of the many ways Poyer can influence opposing offenses and keep them guessing.

Where Do The Bills And Poyer Go In Year Six?

Going into their sixth year of partnership, the Bills and Poyer have found themselves in quite a pickle. This may be the first time where McBeane has met their match. In years past Beane has been able to retain his key players at a price point that was beneficial to both sides. This may be the deal that brings Beane to his breaking point.

Jordan Poyer has finally received the accolades he deserves being named an All-Pro which makes the situation a little harder for Beane. As I mentioned earlier the two most recent safety signings of Derwin James, and Tyrann Mathieu may seem like it makes the situation harder but it’s not as it seems. Both of those players combined have been named First-Team All-Pro five times, five Pro Bowls, a Second-Team All-Pro, and a Super Bowl ring.

With those types of accolades, those players deserve the contracts they received. Does Poyer deserve a new contract with the Bills? Yes, no doubt about it. Does he deserve to be well compensated for the play he has given Buffalo? Guaranteed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Bills need or should break the bank for him. Some of the other upcoming expiring contracts are players like Tremaine Edmonds, Dawson Knox, Ed Oliver, and Gabe Davis.

Ask yourself, which position do you think makes a bigger impact on the game, a playmaking tight end who led the league in touchdowns in his third season and hasn’t even hit his ceiling, an anchor of a defense who calls the plays and is only 24 years old and named a Pro-Bowler twice, a young up and coming defensive tackle who has found his stride, Josh Allen’s favorite red zone weapon who set an NFL record with four touchdowns in last year’s playoffs or a 31-year-old safety who has had a few injuries keeping him out of a hand full of games including this preseason and may want a record-setting contract?

Think of which of those positions or players may be the easiest and cheapest to replace to keep some of the others.

Beane At Night Sighting?

To break all of this down, I believe Brandon Beane and Drew Rosenhouse (Jordan Poyer’s agent) are going to work this out. Poyer has always spoken about loyalty when it comes to the Bills. Speaking about how they believed in him after his injury and getting sober (which is an incredible story in itself) when no other team believed in his versatility to play the safety position after transitioning from being a cornerback.

Jordan Poyer has come out and said on record that he would love to finish his career in a Bills uniform. Now many players have said that then they presumably accept a contract elsewhere due to not wanting to take a “hometown discount.” As previously mentioned in, “Matt Milano Wings Of The Week“, talking about his and Tremaine Edmonds’s relationship, there is something about the cohesiveness of playing with someone at your side for as long as Hyde and Poyer have been together.

There’s a reason this team and these players have grown into the Super Bowl contenders they are today and that is the bond and trust the team has built. Hopefully, that means Poyer’s thoughts on loyalty and trust fall in place with his negotiations. It’s time for Buffalo and the players to come together and realize that there are going to be tough decisions to be made in the near future. Everyone is going to have to give a little to take a little as well.

I love this Bills team and Jordan Poyer as much as the next fan no matter what this article may lead you to believe. But I felt this was an important conversation to have. As I’ve written before, we are going to start seeing a lot of fan favorites and really good players depart this team due to the salary cap. Not every player is going to sign a team-friendly deal and we have been lucky for the players that have. I just believe if Poyer does re-sign it may be the end of our luck and could lose a different player who’s younger and plays a more difficult position to replace.


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Stats are courtesy of pff.com