The Buffalo Bills‘ 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was tough to watch not just because they were completely outplayed and outcoached throughout all four quarters of the matchup, but this defeat was likely the last “home” game at Highmark Stadium for several players, in particular, Jordan Poyer.
Unfortunately, Poyer, who’s battled through several various injuries throughout the season, was forced to exit the game with 12:48 in the fourth quarter following a nasty helmet-to-helmet collision with Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White as both players tried to tackle Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Poyer was subsequently ruled out due to a head injury.
Poyer threw his helmet down on the field with frustration before walking off the field, as this was likely not how he envisioned his tenure in Buffalo coming to a close if he doesn’t receive an extension. After the game, his mother, Julie Poyer, who hasn’t posted on her Facebook page since September 2021, broke her social media silence to send a candid message to Bills Mafia.
“Brief text from Jordan for those of you worried. He’s going to be okay,” Julie Poyer wrote. “Some of the most emotional and stressful moments have come while watching him play football. Injuries happen. Those moments between seeing the injury on T.V. and hearing from him are not easy. Worried, stressed, anxious I search Twitter for in-time updates. Bad idea.
“Most Bills fans are amazing. Searching twitter for an injury update I saw a lot of hate from fans. The theme is to send Jordan packing. (He is a FA now.) Jordan has given so much of himself to this team. He’s played injured since week 4, unable to get healthy. Missing practice all week, he continued to get cleared to play. Cleared on Friday, or a couple of times – game day decision. If you know Jordan, you know he will give whatever % he has in his tank, when cleared. Not once since week 4 was he 100%.
“I can be honest now. There were several games I did not want him playing. For clarity, I am that mom who told him to tape a broken foot and finish a game. I am so proud of him. Not how he wanted to end the season. He is a competitor through and through. I know he gave everything he had mentally and physically. He is a supastar.”
The Bills Gave Poyer a Restructured Deal, Not an Extension
Poyer, who’s played for the Bills since 2017, will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, even though he’s made it clear that his preference would be to remain in Buffalo. The 31-year-old safety, his super agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and wife, Rachel Bush, campaigned hard for an extension earlier this year, but instead of the Bills securing the All-Pro, they offered him a restructured deal with much higher incentives for the 2022 NFL season.
The Bills went 13-1 this year when Poyer was active, and with fellow All-Pro safety Micah Hyde hitting IR in Week 2, he pulled a lot of weight as both a player and mentor on defense. While injuries seemed to limit his performances, he finished the regular season with 75.4 overall rating from PFF, with 46 solo tackles, four interceptions, and 16 receptions allowed. During the 2021 NFL season, Poyer tallied 61 solo tackle, five interceptions and 13 receptions allowed.
While Poyer will return 32 in April, he’s expected to be one of the most sought-after safety free agents this year.
The Bills Have Several Players Becoming Unrestricted Free Agents This Offseason
Bills general manager Brandon Beane will have to make several tough decisions when it comes to who stays and who goes this offseason, especially since Josh Allen’s salary comes with a $39.7 million cap hit in 2023, per Spotrac.com, Stefon Diggs’ new extension comes with an approximately $20.3 million hit, and Von Miller’s deal depletes another $18.7 million.
The Bills preemptively picked up Ed Oliver’s fifth-year option in April, which locked the 24-year-old defensive tackle through the 2023 NFL season and included a $7 million raise in salary. And then one day before the season opener, the team offered 25-year-old tight end Dawson Knox a four-year, $53 million extension, which doesn’t bode well for Poyer’s future in Buffalo.
While the Bills will have to figure out what to do with the veterans they re-signed toward the end of the season, such as John Brown and Cole Beasley, per ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Buffalo’s key unrestricted free agent include linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker A.J. Klein, guard Rodger Saffold, running back Devin Singletary, punter Sam Martin, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, defensive end Shaq Lawson, along with offensive linemen David Quessenberry and Greg Van Roten.