Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that there’s a “clear, fundamental disconnect” between Bills HC Rex Ryan and the team’s defensive line with DE Mario Williams appearing to be at the heart of these issues.
Williams hasn’t voiced his concerns with Ryan’s scheme this season, which has been less productive than under previous defensive coordinator Jim Scwhartz. Rapoport reports that Schwartz is missed among some of the players on defense.
With this in mind, Rapoport mentions that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Williams doesn’t return to Buffalo next season and hits the free agent market. Rapoport adds that Williams could be a sought after veteran free agent much like Julius Peppers was a few years ago.
Williams, 30, is in the fourth year of his six-year, $96 million contract that included $50 million guaranteed. He’ll make a base salary of $12.1 million this season to go along with $11.5 million in 2016 and $11.4 million in 2017.
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing Williams would free up $12.9 million in cap space for the Bills while creating $7 million in dead money.
This season, Williams has appeared in 12 games and recorded 16 tackles and four sacks for the Bills. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 44 defensive end in a 4-3 defense out of 51 qualifying players.