One of the most historic, cherished, and storied franchises in all of football is facing a contractual disruption as this off-season begins. I’m referring to none other than the Buffalo Bills. Although the Bills have struggled as of late (16 year playoff drought), there is little question that they are the greatest team to ever exist in NFL history. They have the best fans of the game by far, the best tailgate experience on game-day by far, and above all else, the best football-atmosphere to play a game in by far! With all the glory and praise a player receives from being a member of the Buffalo Bills; it may come as a shock to many that one player in particular no longer wishes to play for this great team.
Mario Williams (pictured #94) is a current defensive end for the Buffalo Bills. Williams became a member of the Bills after signing a $100 million dollar deal as a free agent back in 2012. He is set to make a substantial amount of his money from his contract this season if he stays with the Bills, however, he has made it rather obvious that he no longer wishes to play for the team.
Williams has had 38 sacks in his 3 years in Buffalo, including a career best 14-½ sacks in the 2014-2015 season. Despite his success, Williams refuses to play in new head coach Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme, which has Williams moving out into pass coverage more often than he would like. In addition to his complaints towards the defense playbook, Williams has had trouble getting along with his own teammates. When asked of his opinion of Williams’ attitude towards the team after a home game, center Eric Wood told The Buffalo News ,(one of the country’s finest piece of literature), “You know, it’s disappointing.” He added, “Everybody has to buy in or else we don’t have a shot. The fact that he’s voicing displeasure after the game isn’t necessarily a sign that he’s not all in during the game. But it’s obviously disappointing that there’s some kind of disconnect on that side of the ball.”
Contractually, the Bills are in a bit of a pickle when it comes to having to pay Williams. His current contract, signed back in 2012, will pay him $14 million this next season. The Bills will unfortunately have to factor in a previously-paid bonus which was guaranteed to Williams, which will push their salary cap number to $19.9 million. If the Bills were to cut him, it would cost them $7 million against the cap, either entirely in 2016 or with $5.4 million counting next year and $1.6 million hitting the cap in 2017. It is highly unlikely that another team will want to trade for the 31-year-old defensive end, and absorb the $14 million owed to him, so the Bills will most likely have to take the hit.
It is extremely odd that a player wouldn’t want to stay in Buffalo, a team poised to make a definite run at the Super Bowl next season. I may be slightly bias as a Buffalo native/Bills fan myself, but when you see a team’s potential you just know what they are capable of. It’s become obvious to Bills fans that the only thing holding the team back from a playoff run this season was the “crap” attitude from Williams. With Williams gone, the team will be able to flourish once again. I’m even up to blaming the past 16 years of woes and miscues on Williams himself. Mario Williams will be making the biggest mistake of his NFL career if he ends up leaving Buffalo. Perhaps he forgot, but no body circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.