No serious discussions between Texans, Mario Williams

Getty Images

With Texans running back Arian Foster now signed to a new five-year deal, the question becomes whether the team will use the franchise tag on linebacker Mario Williams.

Given that the final year of Williams’ rookie deal had a cap number that would push his franchise tender above $22 million, that’s highly unlikely.

Making it even more highly unlikely is the fact that the Texans and Williams have yet to engage in serious negotiations, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

As of last Tuesday, the Texans had $118.9 in 2012 salary-cap commitments, which puts them close to the expected ceiling of $120 million or so.  Foster wasn’t factored into the “top 51” calculation, since he wasn’t under contract at the time.  His cap number for 2012 will land on the “top 51” list, nudging a minimum-salary guy off the board and taking more dollars away from the team’s allotment.

The Texans could tag Williams by 4:00 p.m. ET Monday, adding $22 million to their cap commitments.  The team then would have to embark on a one-week effort to clear cap space.  Candidates for restructured deals and/or pay cuts include receiver Jacoby Jones ($3 million base salary in 2012), linebacker DeMeco Ryans ($5.9 million), quarterback Matt Schaub ($7.15 million), receiver Kevin Walter ($3.5 million), and tackle Eric Winston ($5.5 million).

There are three other reasons to not keep Williams.  First, in a 3-4 defense, outside linebackers can be capably filled by a much less expensive player.  For years, the Steelers had a revolving door at the position, letting “star” players walk and reloading with guys who had the ability to take advantage of a potent three-man defensive line that ties up the blockers.  The Texans will have a hard time justifying the extra money it will take to have an elite player like Williams in that role.

Second, the team performed very well without Williams, who missed most of the season after tearing a pectoral muscle.

Third, the Texans need to keep those big dollars around in the event that they decide to make a run at Peyton Manning.  They reportedly aren’t interested — but at one point the Vikings reportedly weren’t interested in Brett Favre, either.  With Schaub entering the final year of his contract, the Texans could clear a quick and easy $7.15 million in cap space by cutting him loose.

And the Texans, who spent nine years unable to get to the postseason due in large part to Peyton, would suddenly become a championship contender if the guy who was throwing passes at Duke on Friday ends up throwing passes in Houston.

29 responses to “No serious discussions between Texans, Mario Williams

  1. If you have the right coaching you can pull off what the Steelers do. Cant speak for other organizations but they did well without Williams and since they will have to have a fire sale to keep one guy… I dont think they should keep him. He helped them to respectability but when a guy wants the house…sometimes you just have to let em go and let another team overpay them.. I like the guy, no problems with him at all… just financially I dont think makes sense for the Texans if want to continue to stay on top and not have 1 player tie your hands at the risk of not being able to keep/ sign many other players.

  2. the texans are a championship contender regardless of whether or not they sign peyton.

  3. I highly doubt Kubiak is going to give up his QB, the guy he traded for, to make a run at Peyton. Schaub is a top 10 QB when he’s healthy, particularly in that system. Furthermore, would Peyton even fit into Kubiak’s system? I have high doubts that either guy (since Kubiak is known as a stickler for his offensive style … ) would compromise.

    I really don’t think Mario is going to be back there. It just doesn’t make enough sense for them to bring him back at the cost of restructuring and hurting their future, not when a guy like Connor Barwin had a strong season and physically (and performance wise) might be a better fit.

    I bet there’s going to be talk of Mario to a 3-4 team (heck, there was an article awhile ago wondering if the Pats would have interest), but like Julius Peppers a couple years back, he’s just too good of a fit for a 4-3 that I think someone makes a big offer. I half wonder about the Bears (Mario/Peppers would be lethal) but I anticipate them going after a WR first. That said, not really sure which 4-3 teams might be on the prowl.

  4. Couldn’t go one article without a Peyton Manning mention? You know, the New York Yankees might be making a run at Peyton Manning as well. They haven’t given us any indication of it, and he doesn’t fit their system at all, but you just never know.

  5. Not saving money for Manning! Funny have people fall in love with a guy when his contract is up (Mario) because until now nobody was in love with the guy. He isn’t worth 22 Mill a year and so he will end up with another team. But with the Texans cap space and others players they need to sign I think they should let Mario go.

  6. (1) With very capable OLB’s already on the roster it would involve Mario taking a lesser contract to stay. The tag just isn’t in the cards.

    (2) No way Peyton is coming to the Texans.

    (3) They need to spend keeping their OL intact and finding another receiver.

  7. Lets go Bills.

    You resigned Stevie no back up the truck and get Super Mario back in the 4-3 and next to Dareus and Williams.

    Get R Done OBD.

  8. The Manning thing just doesn’t make sense.
    Or let me say, for Peyton is may but not Houston.
    Schaub is hardly a stiff and has paid his dues with that team. The position is not broken.
    More important, say Manning struggles or just has an off season like Brady did in 2009 after his ACL; outstanding stats but not quite where we’re used to seeing him play. Then when 2013 rolls around, when he theoretically should bounce back to being the Peyton Manning we’re accustomed to, he’ll be 37.

  9. who knows what the Texans are going to do? Rick Smith is not talking and that’s exactly how it should be. I respect teams that do their negotiations behind closed doors and not through the media

  10. I’m sure Mario’s thoughts are along the lines of “Houston? Yeah, good team, classy organization. They want me to play standing up. I know, I laughed too. Well, they say Wade Philips can replace me, so….”

  11. With a $120m cap $22m on one player would be insanity. They definitely should give him a real offer or let him walk, if he signed that tender they might actually be losing leverage!

  12. We don’t need him, he takes plays off and is hurt all the time. And with all the young talent we have the organization should just let him walk.

  13. Lol at reason no. 3. That money would be much more useful on Mario. Not to mention, I think they saw enough last year to take a gamble with Yates to take over after Schaub. They don’t need to try some desperation move like that.

  14. Ware and Williams would be destructive… Jerry do the right thing man, dont tag Spencer

  15. Come on up to Seattle, Mario. It’s the home of Nintendo of America, so Super Mario is always welcome….and if you add a little pass-rush to the defense, that young, talented secondary is going to rob people blind for the next few years.

  16. As a Texans fan I will say that Mario may not be gone quite yet. The Texans front office is notoriously tight-lipped, and chances are if a deal is struck it won’t be heard about until the day of (much like the Foster situation). However, the chances are very likely he is gone.

    Mario has been a very good player, but at this point I think the Texans are looking at him as a durability concern. While this is the first year he has missed significant time, Mario always had a “nagging” injury when he played. Likewise, there are concerns about his motivations and how hard he plays. We very much appreciate what Mario has done, but it appears as though it is simply time for the two to move on.

    Peyton will not be a Texan; no way, no how. While Schaub’s Lisfranc injury could possibly have him miss even the beginning of the season (despite how the Texans medical staff spins it), Peyton will never be a Texan. Kubiak wants to run his system, he will not bring in a guy who will call audibles and switch plays on him. Likewise, signing Peyton would surely backfire on us in the same way that signing Boselli did.

  17. @djaehne

    Defensive ends do not get 22 million. The franchise numbers are either the average of the top (how ever many) players at the position OR a 20% increase over the players current salary. Which ever is larger.

    In Williams case, he signed a gigantic contract as the #1 overall pick a few years ago so that 22 million dollar franchise number is actually, a 20% increase over whatever his cap number was last season. Not the average of the top how ever many players at that position.

  18. Mike I think you must be getting lost in the junk. Peyton is a great QB but he is not the answer for every team and the TEXANS play a style of ball that the QB moves around a lot and Peyton doesn’t fit.Then the cost would be to much for the cap space.

  19. Mario’s Tag # is 22 mil b.c his 2011 salary cap # was 18 Million. 120% of his last years cap # is 22 mil. (He actually made 14 mil last year)

    As a Texans fan and Mario advocate since he was drafted in 2006, I’d love to see him here. But the reality is, what we can afford to pay him vs. what he will command on the open market are two different things.

    IF he truly wants to be apart of this defense and team he may be willing to take a much lesser offer. But, if he wants another BIG pay-day, I can’t knock him either for looking.

    Just don’t go to the Jags or Titans.

    I hope to see #90 in a Texans uni, but if not, best of luck Mario!

  20. I don’t see the Texans in play for Manning this year. Firstly, the Colts are not going to want to ship their QB to their division rival and potentially face fan wrath twice a year – just not worth the heartburn. That being said, Manning may only get a 1-year contract (depending on his health), and the Texans may be in play next year with Schaub’s contract coming up. It could be the Favre to Minnesota situation over agin…

  21. some of you have high expectation of schuab making a return by week 1.. looking into the severity of his injury, it would take a miracle for him to be full speed by week 1, if any return during next season at all.. schaub may be done as a texan..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.