2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Micah Hyde
Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Micah Hyde

by - Correspondent -

Chicago was a little thin at safety to begin with. Now after releasing veteran safety Eddie Jackson, the need for a veteran presence in the defensive backfield is ever greater. Micah Hyde from the Buffalo Bills is set to become a free agent and could provide a good replacement for Jackson.

Jackson was a fourth-round pick on the Bears back in 2017. He made his big break in his rookie season in week seven against the Carolina Panthers when he had two 75-plus-yard touchdowns - one off a scoop-and-score and one off a pick-six. The following season was the highlight of his career, with six interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a total of three touchdowns. He was a little inconsistent after that but had four interceptions in 2022.

Over the last three seasons, he has missed 13 games due to injury, and perhaps that is what ultimately led Chicago to get rid of him.

Hyde, on the other hand, has been more consistent in taking the ball away, with at least one interception since 2014, with the exception of 2022 when he missed most of the season with a neck injury. In the 14 games he played this season, Hyde had two interceptions as well as defending seven passes. Both in 2017 and 2021, he had five interceptions and was a second-team All-Pro.

In addition to being a ball hawk and an experienced veteran, he also has the ability to play multiple positions. In 2017, when he was also voted to the Pro Bowl, he was a strong safety while in 2021, he was a free safety. He also played defensive back for three of his first four seasons in the league but has not done so since leaving the Green Bay Packers.

Financially, in part because of Hyde’s age at 33 years old, he is an inexpensive player. In each of the last two seasons, he made under $7.5 million per year, while Jackson made a total of over $24 million during that time period. In other words, he has been less expensive for perhaps a greater level of talent.

The injuries to Jackson and fellow safety Jaquan Brisker showed the lack of depth Chicago has at the safety position. In addition, the secondary as a whole is incredibly young, as Jackson was the only seasoned veteran. This adds value to acquiring Hyde, particularly because of his lengthy playoff experience playing in a total of 17 postseason games.

Acquiring Hyde would not eliminate the need to sign another safety in free agency or acquire one through the NFL Draft. In regard to a potential draft pick to accompany Hyde if Chicago chooses to sign him this offseason, the NFL Combine starting on February 26 should help to shed some light on the top safety prospects in the draft.

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