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Houston forced Williams to free agency, but only because Houston didn’t need him


On Wednesday, former Texans linebacker Mario Williams said that the team forced him to become a free agent.

As explained earlier today during the latest Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network, that’s true.  The Texans indeed forced Williams to become a free agent.  Because, per a source with knowledge of the dynamics in Houston, G.M. Rick Smith decided the team could win without him.

And that’s precisely what has happened.

If the Texans had devoted the cash and cap dollars to keep Williams, they would have had to save elsewhere.  Indeed, the franchise tag would have cost the team over $20 million for one year.  So Smith ignored what Williams had done and his draft pedigree and focused on what he could do for the team moving forward and assessed whether it was worth what it would take to keep him.

Given Williams’ performance in Buffalo and the Texans’ performance without him, Smith’s decision puts him in line for the Executive of the Year award.

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31 Responses to “Houston forced Williams to free agency, but only because Houston didn’t need him”
  1. fitzmagic1212 says: Oct 31, 2012 11:28 PM

    Mario shut your mouth and produce. This city welcomed you in and gives you everything you want. Dont be a tool all we want is effort after 12 soon to be 13 years of no playoffs.

  2. captainwisdom8888 says: Oct 31, 2012 11:32 PM

    I agree.

  3. nomoreseasontix says: Oct 31, 2012 11:33 PM

    It should be common sense to pay a player on what he is likely to do going forward, rather than what he’s done in the past.
    It doesn’t seem to be that way, though. With the salary cap, there’s not much room for scholarship contracts.

    Just ask the Raiders. But, they’re slowly losing the deadwood.

  4. claydefayette says: Oct 31, 2012 11:34 PM

    Mario is a lot like Julius Peppers but at least Peppers has played well after signing his huge deal

  5. noeffinway says: Oct 31, 2012 11:35 PM

    For real? Not re-signing one player puts you in line for Executive of the year? That seems silly.

  6. bigwinintx says: Oct 31, 2012 11:37 PM

    Up til his last year in Houston, Mario hadn’t really done enough to warrant that kind of cash.

    If you go back and take a look a his in game performances, Mario took more than his fair share of plays off. Mario lived in a bubble; the national media didn’t see him as much as they did other big name ends and he rode the fact that the media in Houston didn’t crucify him like a New York media would.

    Now he’s on his own in a tough market, and the excuses roll like the river. His wrist this week, his toe next month and eventually the old faithful sports hernia will raise it’s ugly head.

    If Mario would have shown it, The Texans would have opened the bank for him, but he didn’t show, and Rick Smith wisely predicted that he would do what he had done from the beginning; show flashes, but no consistencies.

    Well done Rick, go away Mario.

  7. brewdogg says: Oct 31, 2012 11:38 PM

    That’s kind of cold….. But maybe if it happened (and got media attention) more often, there would be fewer players holding out for more money.

    Owners, are you paying attention?

  8. jerrysshadescleaner says: Oct 31, 2012 11:46 PM

    Very smart move, houston dodged a bullet.

  9. purplengold says: Oct 31, 2012 11:48 PM

    He wasn’t forced, he just wasn’t worth what he wanted, and he found a sucker team.

  10. srose3rd says: Oct 31, 2012 11:48 PM

    It was that $100m pay day that he wanted that forced him to free agency. Don’t blame the Texans. I’m sure if he would have taken a lot less money they would have kept him. The lack of production didn’t justify the cost. At that price tag it was not cost effective.

    Plus we have to save up the $200m we’re going to give to J.J. Watt in a couple years (that they will GLADLY pay)…..

  11. bergthe1st says: Oct 31, 2012 11:53 PM

    Pay attention, Tennessee Titans. This is where you screwed up. Guy runs for 2k and you assume he’s gonna do it again. You deserve what you got.

  12. glynners says: Oct 31, 2012 11:56 PM

    Reggie Bush is smiling a little inside

  13. gronkspike802 says: Oct 31, 2012 11:56 PM

    When the Patriots gave Welker the franchise tag and kept one of the best WRs in the league for only $9.5 million they are jerks, but when the Texans force out one of their loyal stars and he under-performs they are geniuses? Seems backwards to me.

  14. houstontexans99 says: Nov 1, 2012 12:00 AM

    The story here is that Mario is trying to avoid the Jacoby treatment. He still hasn’t talked to the Houston media since he left and is attempting to ingratiate himself with the fans. Does anyone believe he didn’t want to hit free agency?

  15. jetsfan79 says: Nov 1, 2012 12:03 AM

    The jets will trade for him

  16. peytonsneck18 says: Nov 1, 2012 12:21 AM

    Imagine if mario got 96the million…how much JJ Watt will get when hes a FA..paid!!!

  17. themightyhoustontexans says: Nov 1, 2012 12:43 AM

    Don’t miss him. JJ Watt is better than what Williams was supposed to be.

  18. mikealstott says: Nov 1, 2012 12:47 AM

    I can’t believe Buffalo gave this guy elite QB money…He has been an average DE since 08′ and has missed 14 games the past two seasons. Now he has 3.5 sacks in 7 games. Bad investment…

  19. mondera1 says: Nov 1, 2012 12:50 AM

    Houston will fail this year regardless of who they have on defense. Williams is a decent player and he never was a game changer. The move to buffalo was the right move, it will set him up financially for life and the bills will get a big name to market their franchise….win win for each side.

  20. mikeheruki says: Nov 1, 2012 1:00 AM

    Maybe Williams priced himself out.

  21. Punk says: Nov 1, 2012 1:01 AM

    And by “forced” Williams means, “didn’t want.”

  22. chilomane says: Nov 1, 2012 2:10 AM

    He should have not said that its make him look like he’s jealous of there success without him and he’s some where he doesn’t want to be.

  23. tiggerblood says: Nov 1, 2012 5:44 AM

    He was better in the 4-3 with his hand in the dirt. Or does Buffalo run the 4-3 now last I remember they ran the 3-4 and he was gonna play OLB, which he played with Houston last year I don’t remember did he have an off year last year too? If he did and I was a GM with a 3-4 D I would have steered clear.

  24. cliffordc05 says: Nov 1, 2012 6:50 AM

    We always hear professional athletes speak of their sport as a business. However, when an obvious business decision is made, it is the players who seem to have hurt feelings and express an emotional response ranging from shock to bitterness.

    The decision to let Mario Williams walk in free agency was a no brainer and much easier to do than release their right tackle or trade their inside linebacker. Williams could have stayed in Houston but he sure as hell would not be getting paid what he is being paid in Buffalo.

  25. aldavisisthenfl says: Nov 1, 2012 7:29 AM

    The Saints should have taken a page out of his book regarding Brees……

  26. dg0122 says: Nov 1, 2012 7:40 AM

    Mario never played up to his “draft pedigree”. Go back to his college film…he was a lamb-killer, piling up stats against weak opponents and disappearing against good teams. A lot like his NFL career. All the talent in the world but no drive

  27. jacksonjames4 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:06 AM

    I’m glad he had that “procedure” done.. but what happens when he gets a hangnail and starts crying again.. the bills will be screwed

  28. pftbillsfan says: Nov 1, 2012 8:29 AM


  29. mrbigass says: Nov 1, 2012 8:34 AM

    I don’t see the problem. Houston needed cap room to sign other just as (or more) valuable players and he got paid a truckload of money. Win win?

  30. steelers88 says: Nov 1, 2012 8:48 AM

    Wow that explains a lot buffalo

  31. mikepbuffalo says: Nov 1, 2012 9:52 AM

    first quarter should be interesting, then it might get really ugly

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