The Buffalo Bills are rumored to be nearing a major turning point for the defense. With the team in turmoil, Mario Williams is increasingly likely to depart in the offseason as a cap casualty.
The Bills are nearing the end of a disappointing year, as the team many picked as a wild card contender hovers just below.500 and is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season.
Mario Williams is the epitome of the team’s struggles. After having one of the league’s best defenses last year, including what many considered the best front four in the league, the Bills have struggled in their transition to new coach Rex Ryan.
The team is failing to generate the same pressure it did in the last few seasons. The Bills recorded a franchise-record 57 sacks in 2013 and a league-leading 54 last season, but this year have just 13 from their defensive linemen.
Mario Williams has been vocal about his displeasure, as have the team’s other linemen. Rex Ryan often calls for them to drop back into coverage rather than pressuring the quarterback, which seems to play away from their natural strength.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2015
Mario Williams brushes off idea of a pay cut; says if he gets singled out for Bills’ problems, “so be it.” https://t.co/ij3NN9anLj
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) December 20, 2015
Mario Williams does not sound happy.
“It makes us switch up certain things that we do,” Williams said earlier this month (via NFL.com). “Now, we might have to do this, we might have to go that way and might not be in the same, as comfortable a position as we’ve been in previous years. But other than that, I don’t think it makes it difficult. It’s just a different look. It’s a different feel for us.”
Now, there are rumors that the Buffalo Bills could be cutting ties with Mario Williams this offseason. The team can save $12.9 million in the offseason by cutting him, money that can be used for other major contracts that appear to be on the horizon.
As NFL.com noted, there could be more changes ahead as the team’s personnel appears to be a poor fit for Ryan’s scheme.
“Williams and his fellow high-priced sack artists — Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, and Jerry Hughes — are earning about $50 million this season. None of them have more than three sacks on the year, though, after Mario had 14.5 sacks and Hughes had 10 in 2014.
“Mario isn’t the only Bills defender to express his displeasure with a defense that ranks 18th overall and 29th in takedowns. We’re fed a weekly diet of hype over Ryan’s ‘exotic’ blitz packages, but ‘invisible’ would serve as a better term during this up-and-down season.”
If the Buffalo Bills rumors are true, then the departure of Mario Williams would mark another low point in the team’s 16-year playoff drought. Mario’s 2012 signing with the Bills was shocking, but to many, it signaled that the team was ready to do whatever it took to become a playoff contender. Now, it looks something more like a $100 million blunder.
The situation has gotten even worse as the season goes on. After beating the New York Jets to reach 5-4 and the thick of the playoff race, the Bills have lost four out of their last give games and appear to be a team in turmoil. Other players are speaking openly about the dissension in the locker room, and there are even rumors that the Buffalo Bills could end up firing coach Rex Ryan, who seems to have lost complete control of his locker room.
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