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.