Though this comes as little surprise given the fact that he spent a good chunk of winter up there (or so it feels), Mario Williams has officially signed with the Buffalo Bills. Terms have not been released, but dollar estimates range from a sh*tload to a f*ckload.
Regardless which side of the 2006 draft debate you were on, hindsight says that the Texans made the right choice. In fact, it feels kind of weird to have such closure on that after so many years of painful (and mostly ridiculously stupid) debate.
Despite many injuries and little help for most of his time in Houston, Mario managed to rack up 53 sacks in 82 games with the Texans and reach the exclusive good-enough-to-be-referred-to-by-only-your-first-name club. All while playing the run far better than your average stud pass rusher.
So, what does this all mean? I have no idea, but I'll write some stuff anyway.When a player leaves a team for millions, it's always a shot to the gut of the fanbase. Some will hate him forever and call him a traitor while others will just call it part of the business. While I believe it all depends on the terms under which the player left, in this case, consider me part of the latter contingent.
I don't doubt that Mario would have preferred to stay with the Texans, all things being equal. Unfortunately for us, though, all things were not equal. An NFL player's earning window is much smaller than most. With the injuries he's suffered recently, Mario knows this all too well. Even though he's only 27, it's likely this will be his last chance to sign an elite NFL contract.
The Texans simply couldn't offer a contract even close to what the Bills did, so while I will miss Mario dearly (hell, the only Texans jersey I own is #90), I prefer to look back at his time in Houston fondly. Hopefully he can now knock the piss out of Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez (and I'm officially on the Peyton-to-Miami bandwagon so Mario can mess him up too).
We know that the Texans defense was successful without him last year, but it's undeniable that they would have been better with #90 on the field. The OLB position will now be manned by Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, but depth is officially an issue. The only other OLBs on the official roster are Bryan Braman and Jesse Nading.
Braman is fun to watch, but very unproven, and Nading, while a good motor guy, is valuable mostly for covering Darren McFadden in the flat.
Others on this site are far better draft evaluators than I, so I'll leave it to them to review this year's crop. In the mean time, let me just leave you with some memories.
#71: Mario Williams (via tltkdjggdk)
The deal is apparently a six year deal worth $96 million with $50 million guaranteed and the potential to increase to $100 million. So I guess the answer was "a f*ckload".