Williams Lands In Buffalo For $100 Million
Mario Williams (US-Presswire)
Mario Williams (US-Presswire)

Posted Mar 16, 2012


The Mario Sweepstakes is over the the winner is... the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo announced the free agent signing Thursday, three days into free agency. With the addition of Williams, AFC East teams will have to a contend with a vastly improved Bills front seven.

Bills sign DE Williams to $100 million deal

Despite the Buffalo Bills' reputation of being unable or unwilling to pay big money for star players, the Bills grabbed a major free agent off the market on Thursday, signing defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year deal worth $100 million, with $50 million of it guaranteed, according to multiple media outlets.

The $50 million guarantee is the largest ever for a defensive player in the NFL.

Williams, who said he was attracted by Buffalo's family atmosphere, is hoping to push the Bills into the playoffs. They started the 2011 season 5-0 but collapsed after that, finishing 6-10 and failing to make the playoffs for the 12th straight year.

"You don't get many chances to be the guy to get across the hump," Williams, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006, said at a press conference. "This is a great opportunity."

Buffalo finished 26th in the NFL in yards allowed in 2011 and 30th in points allowed last

Williams' 2011 season was limited to five games because of a torn pectoral muscle, and he had just five sacks last season, but he has 53 sacks in his six-year NFL career, all with Houston.

Williams will be part of a new defensive scheme that will feature a four-man front under new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, with Williams at right end and Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus on the inside.

Williams spent 2 1/2 days in Buffalo before signing with the Bills. General manager Buddy Nix and Wannstedt took a private jet to pick up Williams in North Carolina to bring him to Buffalo.

Williams was later joined by his fiancee, and after meetings with coaches and touring the city and the Bills facility, he felt comfortable in Buffalo, which he had not visited previously,

He said the uncomplimentary things people say about Buffalo are inaccurate, and that the atmosphere in Buffalo was one of the main things that attracted him.

Asked to specify one of the features of Buffalo that lured him, Williams said, "That there's deer in your backyard."
"I've hear so much about this city, and it's not fair," Williams said. "There's a compassion here. Football is 50 percent of (signing with a team), but 50 percent is how you feel outside of football. It feels like a big Richlands."

Williams is from Richlands, a quiet, rural town in North Carolina.

Former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly played a major role in the recruitment of Williams, and Williams said his visit to Kellys' home had an impact on him.

Nix said the Bills have been targeting Williams since the end of the season, when it became apparent Williams might become a free agent. He also said the heat the Bills take for not wanting to spend money was inaccurate, that ownership has never told him not to spend money on a particular player.

The Bills certainly opened the purse string for Williams, but Williams said he doesn't feel any pressure from receiving a huge contract.

"I don't see pressure," he said. "I just see work that needs to be done."

Nix is hoping Williams' decision may help Bills sign other players who might have been reluctant to come to Buffalo.
"If you see a guy of his stature come to Buffalo . . . If he did it, there's something there," Nicks said.

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