It’s currently unclear exactly when the team will make the move, but Williams will reportedly play his final game for the team on Sunday against the New York Jets.
The move would provide some cap relief for the Bills, after Williams signed a six-year, $100 million deal in 2012. He will make $11.5 million in base salary next season, and the team can save more than $12 million by letting him go. Williams has also struggled to adapt to the team’s defensive schemes in the first year of Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach, with just four sacks this season after 14.5 in 2014.
Williams has also been publicly critical of the team’s coaching decisions at times this season. He expressed frustration with his occasional responsibilities dropping into pass coverage. Ryan told reporters Wednesday in a conference call that frequent criticism from his players bothered him at times this season.
Another player anonymously criticized Williams’s effort.
One teammate on Mario Williams: "Zero effort. The tape speaks for itself. … He takes two steps and stops.”— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) December 31, 2015
Teammate on 94: "It’s been clear to me that Mario doesn’t care about anybody but himself." Has Williams checked out? “Totally checked out.”— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) December 31, 2015
The Bills reportedly plan to overhaul their defense after a disappointing season. The team is 7–8, and the defense currently ranks 20th in yards allowed and 31st in sacks after leading the league with 54 sacks one year ago.
Buffalo announced Wednesday that Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley would return next season, with owner Terry Pegula offering a vote of confidence in a statement.
- Jeremy Woo