Outpost Buffalo Lands Mario Williams
For a team and city that has been essentially irrelevant and the doormat of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for over a decade, the NFL's Buffalo Bills, with 94-year old owner Ralph Wilson opening the purse strings, have signed undoubtedly the NFL's second most sought after FA in DE Mario Williams from Houston. Mr. Wilson, the long-time Hall of Fame owner of the Bills was willing to open the purse string's, to the tune of a 6-year $100 million dollar contract, $50 million of that guaranteed! Even the game of tag being played by former Indy Colts super QB Peyton Manning among Denver, Tennessee and San Francisco, wouldn't have brought him this type of bucks.
Williams' signing immediately elevates Buffalo to one of the top defensive teams, and perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL for next year, puts the fan base back on track, and throws a monkey wrench in the game plans of Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez of the Pats and Jets. Williams did good research on Buffalo before visiting, stating the city, with its rabid fan base and long patience and now excitement, reminded him of his small town roots in North Carolina. So it just wasn't money for Williams, it was atmosphere, and he liked what he saw in the small market city of Buffalo with its long established club.
Bills went 5-2 last year before collapsing with 12-starters going down with injury. They gave QB Ryan Fitzpatrick a $59 million dollar contract last year, and his Number 1 target, Steve Johnson $39 million two weeks ago. So, the playoff potential was there, with a young team, many of the players with three or less years in the NFL, a solid running game in Fred Jackson and Clemson speedster C.J. Speiller. Williams will be a huge hit with Buffalo and the fans, and Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, who lives in Buffalo year round, also was very instrumental in recruiting the DE star and former Number 1 pick in the NFL draft, into coming to Western New York.
A rejuvenated fan base puts to rest the idea that Buffalo is destined to move to Toronto (the NFL can never put a team in Canada, they have a contract prohibiting it with the Canadian Football League), or Los Angeles, which still doesn't have a stadium. Good call, Buffalo had to do something radical to restore their club, with last year's injuries destroying a promising season. The Bills really haven't put a solid club on the field since they had Doug Flutie at QB, and he went 22-6 in three season's starting there.