While I’m not a huge fan of free agency — big signings rarely lead to wins in January — the Bills made a nice move today signing ex-Texans end Mario Williams, even if the price tag was a reported six-year, $100-million deal with $50 million guaranteed.
Rarely does a 27-year-old former No. 1 pick, who is a freak athlete at 6-feet-6-inches, 295 pounds with 4.70 speed in the 40-yard dash, come on the market without having to be a reclamation project.
The Bills can now start a defensive line of, from left to right, Chris Kelsay, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams, with Shawne Merriman in reserve (for now). That’s a formidable group. Who do you double? Who do you single block if you’re the Patriots? Is Nate Solder ready to face Williams? Maybe the Patriots are calling Matt Light to make sure he comes back.
This is the type of line Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt had to have to make his scheme work. He rarely blitzes so the front four has to generate all the pressure, and they have to keep the blockers off the middle linebacker. Nick Barnett must be ecstatic today.
The addition of Williams will certainly help a solid young secondary with safeties Jairus Byrd and George Wilson, and corners Terrence McGee, Drayton Florence and Aaron Williams.
The Bills, who upset the Patriots in Week 3, had some nice talent on offense before injuries hit. The line will need some work with LT Demetrius Bell and OG Chad Rinehart likely to sign elsewhere, but you can’t sign a guy like Williams and be strong all over the field.
Is it good enough to overtake the Patriots? We’ll have to see if they have the right pieces when the season starts, but the Williams signing definitely makes the Bills better today.