Bills Planning to Cut “Checked Out” Mario Williams
With their playoff hopes already extinguished and the team headed for another underwhelming season, the Buffalo Bills appear ready to shake things up over the offseason.
The franchise’s first step will reportedly be a decision to cut defensive end Mario Williams, citing disagreements with new head coach Rex Ryan and a lack of commitment to the team.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, a “clear and fundamental disconnect” between Williams and the direction Ryan plans to take with his talented defensive line is a big factor in the lineman potentially hitting free agency.
This is not, in fact, a new development. Williams has been vocal in expressing his concern over how the Bills’ threatening front four has been used this season. Under the defensively minded Ryan, the Bills rank second-to-last in sacks, having brought the opposing quarterback down a measly 20 times in 2015.
Just last year, Buffalo led the NFL with 54 sacks. Williams specifically racked up 14.5 sacks in 2014; the third time in three years he boasted a double-digit sack campaign. This year, Williams’ 4 sacks have raised eyebrows in a system expected to churn out big numbers for talented edge rushers like himself.
But the blame may not lie entirely with the Xs and Os. One unnamed teammate claimed that “Mario doesn’t care about anybody but himself” and that Williams has “totally checked out” with one week to go and the Bills’ season already in the trash.
Regardless of who is in the right, the two parties seem destined to part ways after this season. The move might just be for the best. After signing a six-year, $100 million deal back in 2012, Williams represents a $16 million cap hit next year in a defense that appears to no longer accommodate his skill set.
Buffalo can save $12 million of that hit by cutting ties now. In return, Williams can expect to have a fair number of 4-3 suitors clamouring for his signature come free agency.