This guest post was made by the SeatCrunch team.
There’s no denying Mario Williams is a great player. As a Texan, he was a fearsome pass rusher, compiling a total of 53 sacks over the course of six seasons. So when Williams entered free agency this offseason, the Buffalo Bills jumped at the opportunity to snag him. Buffalo offered a six-year deal with $50 million guaranteed, but worth up to $100 million. That makes Williams the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
After tearing a chest muscle last season, Williams was only able to play in 5 games. Should the Bills have been so aggressive? History shows that the answer may be no. Take, for example the story of Albert Haynesworth.
In 2009 Haynesworth signed a seven-year $100 million deal with the Redskins with $41 million guaranteed. If he had met all his incentives, the contract could have reached $115 million. Before Williams, this was the highest contract for any defensive player ever. His first year in Washington went well, but year 2…not so much. Haynesworth stated that he could not “survive another season in the system if it stays the way it is.” He spent the rest of the year restricted from play.
Or take the case of Nnamdi Asomugha. He signed a 5-year $60 million contract with the Eagles after dominating in Oakland. He couldn’t get into the Philadelphia system, and was not the same dominant pass defender he was for the Raiders. It wasn’t Nnamdi’s physical skill that was lacking, it was his ability to adapt to a new system.
I want to give Mario Williams the benefit of the doubt. I hope he can come in to Buffalo and help them to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. But part of me wonders if the pressure of being the highest-paid free agent is just too much for some. After playing years and years under one system with one group of guys, it can’t be easy to just start all over somewhere new.
I’m confident in William’s ability, now we’ll just have to wait and see how he deals with the changes that come with joining a new program