The Buffalo Bills opened their mandatory minicamp this week and perhaps no face was more important to see than that of safety Jordan Poyer.
The 31-year-old Poyer requested a contract extension in the offseason, but his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has stood firm that the safety wants to finish his career as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
Back in 2017, the Bills landed one of the biggest bargains in the NFL when they signed Poyer to a four-year, $13 million contract.
Poyer had started his career as a seventh-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles but had been released and signed as a cornerback by the Cleveland Browns. However, Poyer played just six games for Cleveland in 2016 before a lacerated kidney landed him on the injured reserve.
After the Bills signed him and moved him to safety, Poyer paid immediate dividends.
Pro Football Focus named him one of the highest-graded safeties in the NFL in his first season, and he remained a solid starter through the 2019 season, recording 302 tackles, 11 interceptions, 22 passes defended, five sacks, and four forced fumbles in his first three years will the Bills.
All he did in the next two years was record 217 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, five sacks, seven interceptions, and 14 passes defended while being named first-team All-Pro in 2021.
With Poyer entering the final year of his contract, it’s no surprise the veteran is looking for some assurances from the Bills. Just last offseason, the Vikings made safety Harrison Smith the highest-paid safety in the NFL by signing him to a four-year, $64 million extension. The $14.7 million base salary that Smith will receive this year is a far cry from the $5 million base that Poyer is set to earn.
In fact, the $9.2 million that Poyer will likely see in 2022 ranks 13th in the entire NFL at the safety position. So while Poyer will likely not see a new contract that rivals Smith, closing the gap is something that seems fair.
Poyer arriving at camp is a sign of good faith and leadership from the veteran. With the Bills coming into this season with Super Bowl aspirations, avoiding any distractions is essential.
However, a new deal is not a lock. With Josh Allen signing an extension last year and Stefon Diggs signing one this year, the Bills will need to find value in order to keep their corps intact for multiple runs at a title.
With the Bills high on third-year safety Jaquan Johnson, it’s possible that 2022 will be Jordan Poyer’s last in Buffalo.