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Report: Buffalo Bills plan to cut Mario Williams

In 2012, the Buffalo Bills gave former #1 overall pick Mario Williams what was, at the time, the largest contract for a defensive



In 2012, the Buffalo Bills gave former #1 overall pick Mario Williams what was, at the time, the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, a six-year deal worth $96 million. Four seasons later, the Associated Press are reporting that Sunday will be Williams’ final game with the team, and he will be released during this offseason. The move would free up $12 million under the salary cap.   The report claims that part of the thinking behind releasing the four-time All-Pro is that he has struggled to adapt to Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme, which asks defensive ends not just to keep contain and rush the passer but to drop into coverage as well. Earlier this month, Williams admitted that he was still struggling to learn the defense, and outright stated as recently as last week that the team’s personnel doesn’t match their head coach’s scheme. Of course, earlier in the season, the media heavily reported Williams’ open criticisms of the defense.   Whether the public manner in which Williams’ vented his frustration has anything to do with the reported upcoming release isn’t clear, but if the DE is correct in saying that the problem is a mismatch of scheme and personnel, this report would suggest that it’s the latter that will change to fit the former and not the other way round.   It’s perhaps not surprising that this report comes a day after team owner Terry Pegula confirmed that both Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley will be remaining with the team. With Williams not adapting to Ryan’s scheme – either due to inability to do so, or unwillingness to do so – there was unlikely going to be enough space for both in the Bills organisation, and the cap relief the team gets will have just added to that decision.   It might also be fair to speculate whether Williams will have asked for this decision. He was clearly not happy in Rex’s scheme, and when allowed to play in a ‘pure’ 4-3 scheme, he was still one of the best left ends in the league, racking up 14 and a half sacks in 2014 – in fact, he had put up 10+ sacks in every season at Buffalo until 2015, where under Rex’s scheme he has notched just four. At the age of 30, Williams will still be able to get one final top-level contract in his career, so a parting of the ways may work out best for all involved.  

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Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including the BBC, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

Report: Buffalo Bills plan to cut Mario Williams

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