Is Mario Williams finished in Buffalo? If so, could he end up with a team that actually has a chance to win?
Take a good defense, add Rex Ryan and you have a great defense. Right? Eh, not so much when it comes to the 2015 Buffalo Bills, a questionable defensive venture from Rex.
The Bills rank 19th in total yards allowed per game, 16th in points and players are apparently “unhappy.” Specifically superstar pass rusher Mario Williams who, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, “could be finished” in Buffalo after this season.
One of those players is Mario Williams, who hasn’t been shy about voicing his concerns with the scheme this season. Per Rapoport, don’t be surprised if Williams doesn’t return to Buffalo next season and hits the free agent market. There is a “clear, fundamental disconnect” between Ryan and his defensive line and Williams seems to be at the heart of the trouble.
Surely everyone understands how a Rex Ryan team works at this point. When things are going well, everyone is very happy. When things are going poorly, everyone is unhappy.
And things aren’t going well right now. The Bills have lost three out of their last four games, including last week against Philadelphia in the LeSean McCoy Bowl. The playoffs aren’t totally out of the question yet but at 6-7 the Bills are essentially finished. (Football Outsiders gives them a Lloyd Christmas-esque 2.6 percent chance of making it.)
Take a new coach, a huge salary, a defense not ideally fit for Williams and a struggling team and it’s not entirely surprising to hear.
Even at 31 and with a bad season in Buffalo tainting his resume, Williams could cash in again if he hits free agency. Pass rushers are always at a premium in the NFL.
It’s becoming more and more clear that Mario Williams won’t be a member of the Bills in 2016. For two important reasons: (1) he apparently doesn’t want to be; and (2) multiple teammates may not want him to be, either.
Williams has complained multiple times about coach Rex Ryan’s defense, which has the pass-rushing specialist dropping into coverage more often than he’d like to be. (Then again, once is probably more often than he’d like to be.) Defensive back Corey Graham recently channeled Bill Belichick when talking about Mario’s malcontentedness. Now, center Eric Wood has sounded off — and it’s clear that the Thurman Merman doppelganger won’t be making Mario any sandwiches.
“You know, it’s disappointing,” Wood said regarding Williams, via Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News. “Everybody has to buy in or else we don’t have a shot. The fact that he’s voicing displeasure after the game isn’t necessarily a sign that he’s not all in during the game. But it’s obviously disappointing that there’s some kind of disconnect on that side of the ball.”
Wood remains confident that “Rex will have that side of the ball right for next year.” To make that happen, Rex probably will have to move on from Mario.
His contract, signed in 2012, pays $14 million in 2016, which when factoring in previously-paid bonus money pushes the cap number to $19.9 million. Cutting him would cost $7 million against the cap, either entirely in 2016 or with $5.4 million counting next year and $1.6 million hitting the cap in 2017.
Bet on the latter, unless someone wants to trade for the privilege of paying Williams $14 million. So, yeah, bet on the latter.