Given the realities of how much money a talented free-agent pass rusher like Mario Williams can command, and how many salary cap concerns the Texans have, Williams may only stay in Houston if he takes a hometown discount. Fortunately for the Texans, Williams sounds willing.
Williams told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that his primary motivation in signing a contract when he becomes a free agent next month will be making sure he’s in the right place, not making sure he’s maximizing his earning potential.
“I’m not worried about that,” Williams said. “It’s really not that big of a deal to me. I was the first pick, and I’ve already had everything I really wanted, so my biggest thing is to be in a good position, a good scheme, a good system and continuing my career. Hopefully, it works out. It’s always important to be in a position to be successful. That comes with teammates around you, coaching, having that winning attitude. You want to [play] where you can thrive no matter where you are. . . . I love it here.”
Of course, if Williams says all those things and then turns around and signs with whatever team offers him the most money, he’d hardly be the first athlete to follow that path. The Texans will almost certainly not use the franchise tag on Williams because that would require a tender of $22.9 million, which Houston can’t fit under its 2012 cap, so he’ll be free to shop himself around to the highest bidder.
But for now, anyway, he says he won’t necessarily go to the highest bidder.