Bills releasing Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, Mitch Morse

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Change is coming to Buffalo.

The Bills made a series of moves Wednesday to help the team get under the salary cap — including releasing key longtime starters that have been with the team since Sean McDermott became head coach in 2017 — after coming into the day more than $40 million over the cap.

Among the players being released are cornerback Tre’Davious White, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, safety Jordan Poyer and center Mitch Morse.

Buffalo also released wide receiver Deonte Harty and special teams player Siran Neal.

Outside of White, the Bills’ recent moves, including releasing running back Nyheim Hines, will save the team $25.96 million. White will be designated as a post-June 1 release, which will save the team $10.2 million in cap space with $6.2 million in dead money. The 2019 All-Pro cornerback continues to rehab a torn right Achilles but can sign with a team when free agency opens next week.

The moves mark the end of an era in Buffalo with two captains — Poyer and Morse — leaving the team, in addition to White, who was the first draft pick selected after McDermott became coach.

Whether White, 29, would be a cap casualty was one of the big questions of the Bills’ offseason due to the need to create cap space. White has dealt with unfortunate circumstances, tearing his left ACL on Thanksgiving 2021, returning for six regular-season games and two playoff games in 2022, and then tearing his Achilles four games into 2023.

Before the injuries, the 2017 first-round pick and two-time Pro Bowl selection missed only three games in his NFL career and never had gone through a major surgery. He has 18 interceptions, 68 passes defended, 311 tackles and 5 forced fumbles in his career. He tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions in 2019, when he was selected as first team All-Pro.

Poyer, 32, re-signed with the Bills last offseason on a two-year deal after exploring his free agency options. He initially signed with Buffalo in 2017 and paired with safety Micah Hyde, who also signed with the team in 2017, in the secondary for the past seven seasons.

The move with Poyer marks the end of the safety duo that has started the most games together since 2017 (92) per the Elias Sports Bureau, with Hyde, who is set to become a free agent next week, considering retirement, and sets up a new look on defense for Buffalo in 2024.

Poyer started 16 regular-season games in 2023 after dealing with a variety of injuries during the 2022 season. He was originally drafted in 2013 by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round out of Oregon State. He spent part of 2013 and the 2014-2016 seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

He has 24 interceptions, 54 passes defended, 12 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 806 tackles over 11 NFL seasons. From 2021-22, Poyer led in passer rating allowed as the nearest defender in coverage with a minimum of 50 targets, allowing opponents to complete 49% of passes. Last season, Poyer’s number significantly dropped off in coverage, allowing opponents to complete 73% of their passes.

Morse, who had one year left on his contract, had expressed a desire to stay with the Bills. Buffalo’s starting center since 2019, Morse, 31, has served as a key locker room presence and anchor of the offensive line that saw Josh Allen come away from the 2023 season with the fewest sacks of his career (24).

Since 2019, Morse is second on the team in pass block win rate (94.6%). He played the first four years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year’s starting left guard, Connor McGovern, is expected to take over the center role next season, a source told ESPN.

Neal was a key special teams player and backup in the secondary for Buffalo. A 2018 fifth-round pick by the Bills, he had one year left on three-year deal. Releasing him saves under $3 million.

Harty was only with the Bills for one season and will be remembered in Buffalo for his 96-yard punt return that shifted the regular-season finale for the Bills against the Dolphins in the AFC East decider in Week 18.

As part of the cap clearing moves, the Bills restructured the contract of pass rusher Von Miller, who entered the day with the third-highest cap hit on the roster. By doing so, the team saved $8.645 million in 2024 salary cap space, as reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.

If he hits all of his incentives, Miller would make $2.5 million more next season than he was scheduled to receive. His 2024 deal now has a base value of $8.855 million, with the chance to make up to $20 million with incentives. Miller now has a $1.5 million base salary (down from $17.145 million), a guaranteed roster bonus of $7 million, plus $11.15 million available via incentives.

The previous version of his contract included $10.71 million guaranteed, and no incentives. Remaining in the contract are $255,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a $100,000 offseason roster bonus.

Miller, who turns 35 on March 26, had zero sacks in 12 games last season as he continued to work his way back from a torn right ACL suffered on Thanksgiving 2022.

Miller continues to be investigated for allegations of assault in Dallas from an alleged incident with his pregnant girlfriend in November.

The Bills also reached agreement with safety Taylor Rapp on a three-year deal worth up to $14.5 million, a source told Schefter.

Rapp, 26, had 50 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in his first season with the Bills in 2023 after having played four years with the Rams.

With Poyer being released, Rapp would currently be in line to start for the Bills. The team will address the position in free agency and/or the draft, especially with the Bills projected to have 11 selections once compensatory picks are added.

Damar Hamlin and Kendall Williamson are the only other outright safeties under contract.

Buffalo also is planning to restructure cornerback Rasul Douglas‘ deal to save about $2.5 million more against the cap, a source told Schefter. Douglas was acquired just before the trade deadline in 2023 from the Green Bay Packers and with White gone, is in line to start alongside third-year cornerback Christian Benford.

The team also re-signed guard David Edwards to a two-year extension and re-signed punter Matt Haack to a one-year deal to compete with punter Sam Martin.

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