SI.com’s Peter King writes that the Houston Texans have to be “seriously considering” allowing LB Mario Williams to leave during free agency.
King’s point is that the team didn’t lose to the Baltimore Ravens because of their defensive front and with young players like J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed playing big roles for them; it’s hard to say that allocating more money to an area of strength would be the best idea for the Texans.
Williams will garner plenty of interest on the open market and should net a pretty sizeable contract. Typically, it would make sense for the team to consider using their franchise tag on as it would only be a one-year commitment. The projected franchise tag for defensive ends is in the range of $10.595 – $11.002 million for the 2012 so Houston will ultimately have to decide if he’s worth keeping at that price.
One important aspect to consider is that Williams made $15.15 million this season so have under contract at much more reasonable price for just one season could be enticing.
Houston’s front office has said publicly that they would like to keep him and even referred to Williams as their top priority but his return is by no means a guarantee.
We have Williams listed as the #11 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.