Mario Williams Pay Cut To Stay With Buffalo Bills?


ESPN NFL Insider Josina Anderson reported yesterday that Mario Williams is open to taking a pay cut to remain with the Buffalo Bills.

After a loss to Washington back in December, one would have thought there was no chance of a Mario Williams pay cut. He was asked after the game if he would consider a salary cut to remain in Buffalo. He was not very enthusiastic about the idea when he responded “If this is the turnout of our defense, how does that even sound right?”

The comments from Williams last December on a salary cut were much different from his most recent comments reported by Josina Anderson and written about by ESPN staff writer Mike Rodak. According to Anderson, he said “Yeah, I mean, it all depends on what is happening. My thing is this: Obviously, I’ve had big contracts, but once you get on a team and you get around the guys, it becomes family. The guys on defense, we laugh and talk about anything. We do a bunch of stuff together, and off the field, obviously. It’s bigger than just numbers.”

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What could have caused Mario to have such a drastic change of opinion in the last three months? Was he upset after the loss to Washington and was just speaking out of frustration? Was he posturing for negotiations just in case they asked him to take a pay cut? It’s possible that Williams had a genuine change of heart from December to February but there are some possible reasons why he might have made these comments that are more cynical.

Maybe his agent, Ben Dogra, has been “unofficially” gauging other teams interest in signing Mario if he were to be cut and did not get much traction. If this was the case, the other teams would be considered guilty of tampering by the league since he is still under contract with the Bills. Despite that fact, there are creative ways to get a general idea of what Williams and his agent are looking for in his next contract without blatantly violating the rules of the NFL.

Now that Mario has seen that other teams might not be as interested in his services as he thought, maybe he has realized his best chance to make the most money possible is in Buffalo and that’s why he has changed his attitude. It’s also possible that Williams is trying to change the perception that he is not a team player and is more concerned with his own personal success than that of the teams.

By saying publicly that he is willing to take a pay cut to stay in Buffalo, his agent can tell other teams that Mario did all he could to make things work with the Bills if he is released. They can allude to the fact that the team wasn’t interested in cooperating with Williams and not the other way around.

Rex Ryan did not seem very eager to find a way to keep Williams on the team next season in his comments yesterday at the NFL combine. According to Bleacher Report, Ryan stated “I would love to have Mario back. How realistic is that? I’m not sure.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Williams. Ryan seems to be hedging his bets just in case by some mathematical miracle they are able to include retaining Mario into their offseason plans. Rex was probably being diplomatic and has no real interest in having Williams back next season.

It seems like the Bills have already moved on. The Associated Press reported that team had decided back in December, before they had even played their last game of the season, to cut Williams this offseason.

Most likely, Williams comments from yesterday were not because he genuinely wants to remain in Buffalo, but rather because he either doesn’t think he has any better options or he is trying to rebrand himself for contract negotiations with his next team.

Despite Mario Williams change in attitude about reducing his salary, the team does not seem to have as much interest in the idea. It would be shocking to see Mario Williams back in a Buffalo Bills uniform next season.