Mario Williams signs with Bills, now NFL's highest-paid defender

Mario Williams signs with Bills, now NFL's highest-paid defender

By Ryan Wilson |
In Mario Williams, the Bills land the biggest free agent in team history. (US PRESSWIRE)

It took nearly three days but the Bills and Mario Williams have finally come to an agreement. The team will pay the most sought after free agent and one of the league's best players $100 million over six years, including $50 million in guarantees. The deal makes Williams the NFL's highest paid defender.

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The Bills had Williams in on Tuesday shortly after free agency began and never let him leave. Wednesday was spent selling him on the organization (along with the requisite sight-seeing), he remained in town overnight, and on Thursday the two sides hammered out a deal that will make him exceedingly wealthy even by professional athlete standards.

Williams was the first-overall pick in 2006, when then-Texans general manager Charley Casserly took Williams over Reggie Bush. It proved to be the right move even though it was criticized at the time. Williams leaves Houston after six seasons, 241 tackles, 11 forced fumbles and 53 sacks.

As the Buffalo News first reported, the Bills' offer was expected to surpasses the six-year, $91.5 million deal that the Bears gave defensive end Julius Peppers in 2010. Peppers got $42 million guaranteed, and the package, at the time, made him the league's top earning defender. Williams' nine-figure contract is a first for an NFL defender (even if it's not likely that Williams sees all of the $100 million).

And just so there's no confusion, the News offered this reminder Thursday morning: "It's believed Williams' decision will not be solely based on financial considerations. He wants to feel comfortable with his new team and have a good chance to win."

And that's not a slight against Buffalo or Western New York but a reminder that, ultimately, the NFL is a business and the players are businessmen. Whatever his motivation, Williams joins Kyle Williams and 2011 first-round pick Marcell Dareus along the defensive line, and his addition suddenly catapults the Bills into the "So they're a playoff team, right?" conversation.

At the very least, Buffalo is now the second-best team in the AFC East. The Patriots are the Patriots, but the Jets have plenty of questions (just look at how the 2011 season ended) and the Dolphins don't even have a quarterback.

While it's a great day for the organiaztion and its fans, others are excited by the news too, just for different reasons.

We discussed Williams and the Bills, and all the latest free-agency news on the latest Pick-6 Podcast:

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