The Buffalo Bills released DE Mario Williams Tuesday, in a widely expected move. The release of Williams saves the team nearly $13 million cap space. Given Williams' down season and the salary cap savings involved, the decision to cut him was a no-brainer for the cap-strapped Bills.
While Williams might not be the player he once was, he's still a talented player and can start on many NFL teams. At just 31 years old, Williams will get another shot in the NFL. Williams can play in the 3-4 defense, but he's proven that he's best as a 4-3 DE. Many teams will likely have interest in Williams. How much he'll cost is a major question, as Williams could command a solid salary or take a cheap deal to pursue a championship. With that in mind, here are five teams that could sign Mario Williams.
First round pick Vic Beasley showed promise as a pass rusher, but he needs help. The Falcons have three edge rushers in Adrian Clayborn, O'Brien Schofield and Kroy Biermann who are free agents. None of those three are the answer to helping the Falcons get to the QB and can all be upgrade. Williams could start across from Beasley and form a dangerous duo. Atlanta has about $30 million in cap space, so they should be able to afford Williams.
The Cowboys need some defensive end help this offseason, and that's only been reinforced by the four-game suspension Randy Gregory received earlier this offseason. The Cowboys have Demarcus Lawrence at one DE spot, but Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey are free agents. Signing Williams to replace Hardy makes perfect sense of the Cowboys. Williams would be a great mentor for Gregory and Lawrence and wouldn't cause the headaches Hardy did. Money is a little bit tight in Dallas, meaning Williams would need to take a team-friendly deal. For more Cowboys rumors, download the Chat Sports Android and iPhone app.
The Jaguars don't get much love in the national media, but they could be players this offseason. The team has the most cap space of any team, with nearly $75 million. The Jags could use some of that money to find a pass rusher to pair with Dante Fowler. The Jaguars offense was prolific last season, but the defense struggled. Adding Williams could help the defense perform better next year.
New York Giants
The Giants have four defensive ends set to hit the open market, including starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers. With over $57 million in cap space, the Giants could elect to overhaul their defensive line this offseason. Williams would be a strong addition to the defense, and the Giants could use the pass rushing boost he'd bring. The signing of Williams wouldn't preclude the Giants from bringing back JPP or adding another pass rusher.
The Raiders might not be an ideal fit for Williams, in large part because they don't always play a 4-3 defense. The Raiders occasionally use a 3-4 scheme, and the team has Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards already. However, Justin Tuck did elect to retire and Edwards has a neck injury. With $74 million in cap space, the Raiders can give Williams a large contract and convince him to head to Oakland. For more Raiders rumors, download the Chat Sports Android and iPhone app.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers play a 4-3 defense and desperately need help at defensive end, which makes Williams a perfect fit. William Gholston showed some promise, but the team needs more help. Williams would immediately be the best pass rusher on the team and his presence would allow the Bucs to spend a later pick on the position and develop a player or two. The Bucs are loaded with cap space and could give Williams more money to help convince him to head to Tampa Bay.