clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mario Williams released, Olivier Vernon and Von Miller tagged

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have released Mario Williams, as was expected. The defensive end was scheduled to make $14.5 million and count for $20 million against the salary cap this year, numbers the cap-strapped Bills couldn't afford.

At 31, Williams is an old hand -- but recent results suggest he still knows how to rush in a 4-3 defense. He posted 10+ sacks in his first three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, reaching 14.5 and being named an All-Pro in 2014. It wasn't until he was asked to play as a 3-4 end in Rex Ryan's scheme that the struggles started, and he had just five sacks last season.

Williams will likely command a decent amount of money in free agency, but his age will limit his market. That market should definitely include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who need to find someone who can pressure the quarterback off the edge. Williams is very good at that, and a quality run defender to boot. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith has worked with an older pass-rusher before: he had John Abraham putting up double-digit sacks year after year in Atlanta , all after the veteran turned 30.

The Bucs can expect a lot of competition for Williams, if they're interested in him. Other pass rushers are being kept off the market with franchise (Von Miller) and transition tags (Olivier Vernon). Vernon could see some interest on the market, but the Dolphins can match any contract Vernon signs in order to retain him.