As the Bills made official their free agent haul Thursday, there was a long stretch Jordan Poyer didn’t know if he would be part of the group.
He wanted a new contract extension prior to the start of last season, but Buffalo didn’t provide him with the deal he desired. So he learned what his value was on the free agent market. Poyer said he endured a stressful month, one in which he couldn’t focus enough to play golf in his spare time.
Poyer said there were teams that were interested, but after discussing with his wife, he decided to make a decision based on what was going to make him happy long-term. Terms for Poyer’s two-year contract have not been released, but reports circulated that he didn’t receive bigger offers due to his age and there were nearly 20 other starting safeties came on the market.
Regardless, there was Poyer on Thursday, back on One Bills Drive.
“This is home,” Poyer said. “I love these fans, I love this community. … I’m home now and this is where I’m going to finish my career. I’m really excited about that.”
During the free agent process, Poyer joked that he wanted to play somewhere with fewer taxes, but he never disparaged the Bills during the time he sought a new contract. He also didn’t have much contact with the Bills, according to the Athletic.
“It’s never easy when the business part gets in the way,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “Us not extending Jordan early is more what we can do with the cap and we didn’t know until after the season. … We don’t want to lose any of the guys that we do, but was very excited to be able to get Jordan back.”
It seemed unlikely the cash-strapped Bills would be able to retain Poyer, but he also acknowledged that his age factored into his value to other teams. It wasn’t until Wednesday when Beane felt comfortable they would be able to re-sign him.
“I’m 31 now, I’m sure there weren’t a lot of teams that said, ‘Oh, Jordan Poyer. We can go get him,’” Poyer said. “But I know I’m a football player and I know wherever I end up, I’m going to be a football player and help that team win football games.”
Poyer’s injuries over the course of last season were also likely a warning sign for some teams interested in a player who will turn 32 before training camp. He hyperextended his elbow during the preseason — an injury he later reaggravated later in the year — and then suffered two broken ribs and a bruised lung that prevented him from flying with the team to Kansas City in Week 6. And then, he suffered a knee injury late in the season that kept him from practicing most of the final month of the season.
Not only did his own injuries weigh on Poyer, but so did the slew of ailments that plagued Buffalo throughout the season. Micah Hyde was lost for the season in Week 2, while Tre’Davious White was only able to show flashes of the player he was before suffering a torn ACL. Then, of course, Damar Hamlin collapsed on Jan. 2.
“It was a lot of pressure, it was a lot of stress, but at the same time, I wouldn’t change it at all,” Poyer said. "I feel like a better player and a better man because of it. I feel great now. I’ll be out here for OTAs because I don’t have any contract issues and we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Through his nearly 25 minutes in front of the media, Poyer said on multiple instances that he was excited to continue playing with his old teammates and that the Bills were going to continue to pursue a Super Bowl berth.
“I feel like I have a lot of ball in front of me and I believe I’m going to play at a really high level next year,” Poyer said. “I feel like I’m going to help this team win a lot of football games. … You’re going to get out of this game what you put in and I’ve put my whole life into this game.”
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