ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – As of 4 PM on Thursday, NFL free agency began and deals with players in free agency can become official. For the Buffalo Bills, the 2017 league year got started with a bang, as they announced the signings of five players.
Fullback Patrick DiMarco, guard Vladimir Ducasse, kicker Stephen Hauschka and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer have all agreed to terms to join the Bills.
Numerous reports from the last two days had already linked the trio of DiMarco, Ducasse and Hauschka to Buffalo, but both Hyde and Poyer were unknown additions.
Over the last four seasons in Atlanta, DiMarco has established himself as one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL. In 2015, he garnered second team All-Pro honors. Dimarco’s deal is listed as four years, $8.5 million.
Ducasse actually has a connection to the Bills former coach, Rex Ryan, being a 2010 New York Jets draft pick. He’s bounced around since then however, sending time with the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and most recently the Baltimore Ravens.
Of course, Hauschka fills the void left by the release of Dan Carpenter earlier this week, and brings his 87.2 career field goal percentage to Buffalo. The former Seahawk has missed just six of his 68 field goal attempts, but he has missed 10 extra points over that span. Hauschka does come with the added bonus of being able to handle both the place kicking and kickoff responsibilities. His deal is believed to be worth four years, $12.5 million.
As for Hyde, he comes to the Bills after spending the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. The 2013 fifth-round pick, is considered a jack of all trades, having played both cornerback and safety throughout his career. In four seasons he’s accumulated 210 tackles, four sacks and eight interceptions.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Hyde’s deal will be worth $30 million over five years, with $14 million guaranteed.
On a day when the Bills released safety Aaron Williams and watched top cornerback Stephon Gilmore hit the open market and join the Patriots, the addition of Hyde fills a massive void on the Bills roster.
Similarly adding Poyer, who spent the last four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, should provide some nice depth at the safety position. Poyer saw his 2016 campaign cut short after suffering a lacerated kidney in Week 6, but has appeared in 48 games over the course of his career.
All five signings certainly address a some of the Bills most pressing needs, but their work is far from over. There are still numerous holes to fill across the roster.
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