Buffalo Bills star defensive end Mario Williams was cut today according to a tweet by ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
She has broken news on Mario Williams in the past and is a very credible source. This move was far from shocking to anyone who follows the Bills regularly. It was reported back in December by the Associated Press that this was going to happen in the offseason at some point.
Williams was due to count $19.9 million against the salary cap in 2016 if the Bills did not cut him. That is too high of a price for a 31-year-old defensive end coming off his worst season in the NFL. To be fair to him, he played well and had over ten sacks in each of his first three years with Buffalo. Releasing Williams will free up $12.9 million in cap space for the Bills. They wasted no time in using today when they applied the franchise tag to starting left tackle Cordy Glenn.
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This past season Williams was criticized anonymously by at least one of his teammates for his lack of effort according to a report from Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News. Williams did not do himself any favors in Buffalo by criticizing head coach Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes throughout the year either.
Bills fans have mixed opinions when it comes to Williams. Some fans were extremely unhappy with his lack of effort last season and his public criticisms of Rex Ryan’s defense. They could not wait for him to be cut when the season was over.
Other fans sided with Williams. They agreed with him that he would’ve been better off playing in a defensive scheme similar to the one Jim Schwartz used in Buffalo as opposed to Rex’s defense scheme from last season in which Mario struggled.
If Mario does well next season the criticism of Rex Ryan and his defensive scheme will start to swell within Bills Mafia unless Buffalo’s defense is thriving as well. On the other hand, if Williams does poorly with his new team, part of the fan base will be very quick to point out “I told you so” in regards to his lack of effort and production and how it was not Rex’s fault.
It will be interesting to see what team signs Williams and whether he still has it in him to be an elite defensive player in the NFL.