Packers Lose DB Micah Hyde to Buffalo Bills

Packers safety Micah Hyde has agreed to a contract with the Buffalo Bills. The 26 year old was a fifth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2016 season recap verdict: Exceeded moderate expectations
Hyde’s contract with Buffalo: 5 years, $30 million ($14 million guaranteed)
Projected compensatory pick range: 3rd or 4th round
The Packers next play the Bills: At Lambeau Field in 2018

Micah Hyde played perhaps the best stretch of football of his career in 2016, coming up big for the Packers against Chicago and Detroit to help cap Green Bay’s second half resurgence. He also came up big in the Packers’ divisional round game against Dallas, snagging a crucial interception on an amazing play, bursting through blocking on a screen pass and snagging a pass that Dak Prescott surely regretted as soon as it left his hand.

How Hyde’s signing helps the Bills

Hyde adds versatility to the Bills secondary immediately, but it’s unclear how Buffalo plans to deploy him. Hyde, for all his skills, has never really been a safety or a corner. He lacks elite speed to run with receivers as a corner, but his speed really isn’t adequate to play center field deep either. He’s probably best suited as a bit of a rover, flowing between safety and corner depending on how the offense lines up.

If possible, should the Packers have matched this contract?

In an ideal world, the Packers would have been able to keep Hyde, but from the Packers perspective, there’s probably not much reason to match Hyde’s deal. The Bills are paying Hyde like a starting caliber safety, and an elite one at that. Hyde is neither of those things. Seeing what Buffalo ponied up, the Packers should feel good about not matching their numbers.

Does Hyde leaving help or hurt the Packers?

Though Buffalo may have overpaid, Hyde’s departure does leave a hole in the Packers’ secondary. Green Bay will have to now lean heavily on Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, and other young players to pick up where Hyde left off. It’s also possible that Morgan Burnett may end up playing more as a hybrid linebacker, as he did at times in the second half of the 2016 season.

In either case, Hyde’s departure may hurt the Packers in the short term. The long term effects are too hard to forecast.