My apologies for being invisible the last several days. I was on vacation, following the free agent frenzy from afar. As I feel the need to weigh in with my thoughts on Mario Williams, pardon the untimely nature of this post. My reaction to Mario Williams leaving Houston for Buffalo awaits you after the jump. While you ponder whether to take that leap, I trust you're humming "Goodbye Horses," a lovely ditty that's associated with a different Buffalo Bill.
Now that you're suitably horrified, let's chat about Super Mario.
1. I'm having trouble understanding why any Texans fan would be angry or feel betrayed by Mario Williams deciding to sign with the Bills. Super Mario did not owe the Texans anything. He didn't owe the fans anything. He never embarrassed the organization on or off the field. He fulfilled his contract, and he was free to go where he wanted to go. He chose $100,000,000.00 ($50,000,000.00 guaranteed) and Buffalo. There is nothing wrong with that.
2. Buffalo is paying him a wage the Texans never could have dreamed of offering. Saying he chose Buffalo over Houston is not comparing apples to apples. He chose a gigantic contract in Buffalo over a significantly lesser contract in Houston. In a profession where you're extraordinarily lucky to still be earning at the age of thirty, I do not blame him one second for that. Get paid while you can.
3. I believe Mario Williams is a very, very good football player who is capable of greatness. Although I had sincere doubts the Texans would be able to retain his services, I hoped they would. Could I have justified the Texans, with the roster and scheme they currently have, paying Mario Williams anything close to what he got from the Bills? Nope. There are just too many other mouths to feed.
4. A very underrated issue, and one we'll never really know the true depth of, is how much Mario's desire to play DE in a 4-3 entered into the equation when he was figuring out where to spend the next several years of his career. While he looked increasingly comfortable at OLB in Wade Phillips' 3-4 before injury cut his season short, I wonder whether the idea of returning to his natural position at DE was more appealing than staying at OLB to him.
5. Some people have opined that Mario may still hold a grudge toward Houston for the way he was treated after being selected first overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and having the audacity to not bear the surname "Bush" or "Young." While I don't doubt that he doesn't look back fondly at that experience, I also think that's the kind of thing that becomes a colossal bygone if the Texans were offering $50,000,000.00 in guaranteed money.
6. Kudos to Buffalo for reeling Mario in. They had to have known that Mario was unlikely to return if he left to visit another city, so they were very smart to
kidnap entertain him the way they did. Well played.
7. Six years of evidence indicates that Mario Williams is not the kind of player who single-handedly transforms a defense, but that Buffalo defensive line has potential to be awfully nasty with his arrival.
8. For all the gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts about Mario Williams leaving, Wade Phillips and nearly the entire defense that won the AFC South returns in 2012. Antonio Smith, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, Glover Quin, and Johnathan Joseph aren't going anywhere, and they will undoubtedly be joined by a few draftees who will be fighting for snaps as well. The present and the future (cap willing) remain bright.
9. What's your favorite memory of Mario Williams as a Texan? This would be mine. I remember that game like it was yesterday.
11. Fare thee well, Mario. It was a pleasure watching you play for the Texans, and I wish you all the best in Buffalo. Except when you're playing the Texans (which will go down at Reliant this season), of course, in which case I wish you hardship and struggle.