In 2006, the Texans were ripped for drafting Mario Williams over Reggie Bush with the No. 1 overall pick. On Thursday, Williams signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills that made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday morning, Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair was asked by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell about losing Williams in free agency.
“It’s difficult because he made such a great contribution to our team,” McNair said. “It is interesting now all of a sudden he’s the best defensive player in the league and six years ago we were the dumbest guys in the league, but that’s life. What you’re seeing happen is that there are a few stars around the league that are going to get a lot of money, and with the salary cap that just means that there’s less money to go around for the rest of the other players.
“I think what it’s going to do is it’s going to allow the teams that are in the lower quartile an opportunity to move up faster because with the new rookie salary pool, less money is going to go to the rookies, so those teams at the lower level are not penalized when they have a high draft pick which would’ve cost them a lot of money. Now they have more money available to go out and sign some other free agents, and there are going to be good free agents out there that are not going to command these $96 million contracts.”
Rovell will also interview McNair on “Sports Biz: Game On” tonight at 10:30 p.m. CT on the NBC Sports Network.
Tags: Bob McNair, Free agency, Mario Williams
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The Texans lost their career leader in sacks with Mario Williams’ departure to Buffalo, but they still have Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed – the same two outside linebackers who started the final 11 games of last season, when the Texans ranked second in the NFL in defense.
Barwin, a second-round draft pick in 2009, had a team-high 11.5 sacks in 2011. That tied him for ninth in the NFL and third in the AFC and was the third-highest total in team history. Barwin also led the Texans with 27 quarterback hits and led all Texans linebackers with seven passes defensed.
Reed, a second-round pick in 2011, set a Texans rookie record with 6.0 sacks and had 11 quarterback hits. He had 3.5 sacks in the playoffs, which tied him with J.J. Watt and two Giants players for the NFL postseason lead.
Barwin started the first five games of the season at strongside linebacker. Williams played on the weakside as the primary pass rusher in Wade Phillips’ 3-4. Reed was the first backup off the bench.
After Williams was injured against Oakland in Week 5, Reed started the next game at Baltimore on the weakside. Barwin continued to start on the strongside.
A week later, Phillips switched Barwin to the weakside and Reed to the strongside. Over the final 10 games, Barwin had 9.5 sacks – tied for second in the AFC in that span. He had a team-record four sacks at Jacksonville in Week 12 and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month in November, when he led the NFL with 6.5 sacks in three games. Reed had all six of his sacks after the switch, including at least one in five consecutive games from Weeks 7-12.
The Texans are likely to target an outside linebacker in the first few rounds of the draft and possibly in free agency, but they already have two starters who have produced at a high level under Phillips. And both are only 25 and entering their second seasons playing in a 3-4.
Including Barwin and Reed, all 11 of the Texans’ defensive starters from the end of last season are under contract for 2012.
Tags: Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin, Free agency, Mario Williams, Wade Phillips
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Mario Williams signed with the Buffalo Bills today after six seasons in Houston. One of the most heavily criticized No. 1 overall draft picks in NFL history – and possibly in the history of all professional sports – he left the Texans with a franchise-record 53 sacks in 82 games.
The top pick in the 2006 draft, Williams also was the first draft pick of the Gary Kubiak era in Houston. He started 77 consecutive games before landing on injured reserve with a sports hernia injury in the final month of the 2010 season. He missed the final 11 games of 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle.
Williams played through plantar fasciitis as a rookie, when he was routinely blasted by media and fans who had wanted the Texans to draft Reggie Bush or Vince Young. He had 4.5 sacks and 47 tackles in 2006 – solid numbers, but not No. 1 overall pick numbers.
The following season, Williams exploded with a team-record 14.0 sacks. He did not make the Pro Bowl, but he did in 2008 after recording 12.0 sacks and four forced fumbles.
“Super Mario” played through a painful shoulder injury in 2009 and started all 16 games, recording 9.0 sacks and making his second consecutive Pro Bowl. He had 8.5 sacks in 13 games in 2010. He moved from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker in 2011 and had 5.0 sacks in five games.
Whatever numbers Williams puts up from now on will be with the Bills, who play the Texans at Reliant Stadium in 2012.
Tags: Bob McNair, Free agency, Gary Kubiak, Mario Williams
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With Mario Williams reportedly signing a mega contract with the Buffalo Bills, the Texans could receive a compensatory draft pick as high as the third round in 2013.
Here’s an explanation on the formula for determining compensatory picks from NFL.com:
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.
Compensatory picks are allocated at the bottom of the third through seventh rounds. In 2010, Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent, but the Texans did not receive a compensatory pick for losing him because they signed guard Wade Smith and kicker Neil Rackers.
With the Texans not expected to be very active in free agency, it’s highly doubtful they’ll sign anybody of Williams’ caliber from another team, so a decent compensatory pick should be coming their way in 2013.
Tags: Free agency, Mario Williams
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Texans free agent linebacker Mario Williams has agreed to terms on a contract with the Buffalo Bills, according to multiple reports.
NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora says Williams’ deal with the Bills could be valued at six years, $96 million, with $50 million guaranteed. The Bills have scheduled a press conference for 1:45 ET (12:45 CT) to announce the deal.
Williams was the biggest defensive prize on the free agent market, and it seemed like a long shot for the Texans to re-sign him. Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair said Tuesday that the Texans wanted Williams but other teams did, too, and that the Texans were limited in what they could offer. The Bills were the first team Williams visited after free agency began on Tuesday afternoon, and it turns out he didn’t leave Buffalo without getting a deal done.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Williams had 53 sacks in six seasons with the Texans. He had five sacks in five games last season before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. The Texans finished the season ranked No. 2 in defense with Connor Barwin and rookie Brooks Reed as their starting outside linebackers.
UPDATE: Bills CEO Russ Brandon has confirmed Williams’ signing via Twitter.
Tags: Bob McNair, Free agency, Mario Williams
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BuffaloBills.com says Williams will remain in Buffalo overnight and is scheduled to resume his visit with the team in the morning. Williams arrived in Buffalo on Tuesday and dined with Bills brass. He took a physical with Bills team doctors and got a tour of the team facility on Wednesday morning. His fiancé flew into town around lunch time Wednesday, as BuffaloBills.com’s Chris Brown details:
Williams and his fiancé were then escorted around Western New York where they took in the local communities in and around Orchard Park where Ralph Wilson Stadium is located. After returning to One Bills Drive late in the afternoon the couple chose to stretch their visit in Buffalo into Thursday.
No word on how close Williams is to a final decision on signing with the Bills. Per team policy the Bills do not comment on the state of negotiations until they are completed.
Based on what has happened so far and the fact that Williams is staying in Buffalo for a third day, it would almost be surprising if he doesn’t sign with the Bills sometime on Thursday.
The Texans have said they would like to re-sign Williams if possible under the salary cap, but the Bills are reportedly committed to making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Jacksonville, Seattle, Tennessee and Chicago also have been rumored as suitors for Williams.
Tags: Free agency, Mario Williams
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Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody and linebacker Connor Barwin, the stars of “On the Nose” on Texans TV, started a grassroots Twitter campaign on Tuesday evening to try to keep their free agent teammates Mario Williams and Chris Myers in Houston.
It started with these two tweets from Cody (@ShaunCody95) around 7:30 p.m.:
“Come on Texans fan. We need to keep these guys. Everyone needs to pitch in.”
“I’m gonna pay for Marios gas for all his cars for a week . And I’m takin care of Myers landscaping #whatugot”
Barwin (@ConnorBarwin98) retweeted Cody, then added this:
“Yo Mario I will pay for all of your dogs food for a year…or until we win a superbowl!”
Here are some of the tweets that poured in from fans:
@garciarafael65: @ConnorBarwin98 @ShaunCody95 I know somebody that can mess with their power meter so they won’t have a light bill. Lol #houstonwhatugot
@erinjhonson: @connorbarwin98 @shauncody95 I’ll quit college FB,take out loans,sell my car,future kids and body for Mario to stay…
@mikenhtown: @shauncody95 I will name my kid that’s on the way Mario Christopher even if it’s a girl #houstonwhatugot
@jeremy77338: will change my name 2 Luigi throw fireballs at turtles n give him all the coins I collect along the way #houstonwhatugot
@realjakebrown: @ShaunCody95 I will also make both myers an Mario sack lunches everyday til we win a superbowl #houstonwhatugot #whatugot
@Nachopuncher: @ShaunCody95 I’ll spring for a few grande meals at taco bell
@mikeblair3: @ShaunCody95 I got all the o-lines’ water bills as long as they don’t have pools
@thechile: @ShaunCody95 I will buy air fresheners for all of Mario’s cars and buy a months supply of razors and shaving gel for @CMyers55 for his head
@RyanWKitchen: @ShaunCody95 –Free house keeping and baby sitting ! And I’ll cook them breakfast lunch and dinner.. And I’ll pay their bar tabs!
@Rwoodson: @ShaunCody95 will give mario my NES with super Mario bros and duck hunter. #classic
@RyanG747: @ShaunCody95 I’ll drive both of you to and from games. It’ll save both of yall money! #whatugot
@JakesAndGigEm: @ShaunCody95 I’ll do Mario’s dishes.
@HeberLinares: @ShaunCody95 I’ll clean their bathrooms & bring them taquitos for breakfast.
@NYC_Texan: @ConnorBarwin98 @ShaunCody95 we will rename Buffalo Speedway into Mario Speedway #houstonwhatugot
@Alexander_Bites: @ShaunCody95 @ConnorBarwin98 I offer a years service translating @ArianFoster tweets.
@KevoG_13: @ConnorBarwin98 @ShaunCody95 I’ll mow Mario, Myers, and Briesel’s lawns for a month free of charge!! #houstonwhatugot
Satisfied with his work after apparently seeing that Williams would not be signing with Buffalo on Tuesday night, Cody tweeted the following:
Good job houstonians. Mario’s didn’t sign and he’s flyin back home. We won the battle but the wars not over. #heheardus #houstonwhatugot
Tags: Chris Myers, Connor Barwin, Free agency, Mario Williams, Mike Brisiel, Shaun Cody
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Just minutes into free agency, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Texans outside linebacker Mario Williams plans to visit the Buffalo Bills tonight.
About an hour earlier, Houston radio host Lance Zierlein tweeted that the Bills were making a “strong push” for Williams, adding, “With switch to 4-3, Mario Williams is target to put next to [Marcell] Dareus in Buffalo.”
Williams became an unrestricted free agent at 3 p.m. CT, the start of the new league year. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft has indicated he would like to remain with the Texans, and Texans owner Bob McNair said earlier today that the Texans want Williams back and will do everything they can to retain him. But Williams, who can play in a 4-3 or 3-4, will likely be the most coveted defensive player on the market.
UPDATE: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk says, per a league source, that three other teams are waiting to bring in Williams for a visit. The teams are not named in the report. According to Florio, Williams will not set any visits beyond Buffalo until Wednesday.
UPDATE 2: The Bills posted a picture of Williams arriving in Buffalo with GM Buddy Nix at 5:13 p.m. CT. BuffaloBills.com’s Chris Brown writes that Nix and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt flew to North Carolina to escort Williams back to Buffalo on a private jet, and that Williams was having dinner Tuesday with Nix, Wannstedt, Bills CEO Russ Brandon, head coach Chan Gailey and defensive tackle Kyle Williams as the Bills “put on the full court press to land the prized free agent.”
UPDATE 3: Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News reports that the Bills are “committed to making [Williams] the top-paid defensive player of the league” and “will try to complete the deal as soon as possible.” Gaughan also says the Bills’ chances of signing Williams would go “dramatically down” if Williams leaves town without signing.
Tags: Free agency, Mario Williams
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Along with discussing Mario Williams and other impending free agents, and the release of right tackle Eric Winston, Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair explained once and for all on Tuesday why, despite persistent national reports to the contrary, his team is not interested in Peyton Manning.
Manning, of course, was released by the Indianapolis Colts last week, making him free to sign with any team. The primary reason the Texans will not be that team is because they already have Matt Schaub, who is fully expected to be healthy in 2012 coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
“Number one, we’ve got a quarterback that we think is sound,” McNair said. “We think his foot’s going to be fine. He’s got a great arm and he can take us to a championship, and so we have other issues that we have to deal with. And of course, the teams that are looking at Peyton, who is just a terrific – been a terrific – quarterback, as he says, he’s 80 (to) 85 percent healed or healthy, but you don’t know if he’ll get to 100 percent. So, there’s a lot of risk that they’re gonna be taking because they can’t work him out. But I hope he’s healthy, and I hope he plays; he’s a great asset to the league. But we’re in good shape in that regard, and we’re more concerned about keeping our core players, our free agents, and trying to re-sign them as opposed to bringing in someone else.”
McNair was asked if he hopes Manning does not end up with the division rival Tennessee Titans, one of four teams the four-time MVP reportedly will meet with before making a decision.
“Well, it really doesn’t matter,” McNair said, smiling. “We beat him when he was healthy, and we’ll do it again. It’s up to us. It’s up to us. We play a lot of good quarterbacks. We play against a lot of good ones.”
Tags: Bob McNair, Chris Olsen, Eric Winston, Free agency, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning, Rick Smith
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 11 Comments »
After appearing on “Texans All Access” this afternoon, Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair had a brief interview session with local media at the SportsRadio 610 AM studios.
With about 90 minutes from the time of his interview to the 3 p.m. CT start of free agency, McNair was asked about impending unrestricted free agent Mario Williams.
“We want Mario,” McNair said. “We’d like to have him. Unfortunately, other people would like to have him, too, and it depends on how much they’re willing to pay. We have limitations that constrain us, and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to keep him here. We’ve got Chris Myers. We want to keep him. We’ve got [Mike] Brisiel, we’ve got [Joel] Dreessen, we’ve got a lot of guys that we would like to keep, and so we’re trying to keep that core group together as best we can, and that’s our focus.”
McNair was asked if he has gotten a sense from general manager Rick Smith of whether there’s a priority as to which of their free agents the Texans hope to re-sign.
“We’re not the only party making the decision in this whole process,” McNair said. “The player has to make a decision. And so we don’t know what the players will do, and until we see what the market says in terms of their value and what we can work out with ‘em, what they are agreeable to do, we really don’t know which players we have the best chance of re-signing. We’d like to re-sign all of ‘em, but there’s a lot of it that’s just out of our control. And so we’ll move through that process, and Rick and [vice president of football administration] Chris [Olsen] will do a good job.”
Tags: Bob McNair, Chris Myers, Free agency, Joel Dreessen, Mario Williams, Mike Brisiel
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 16 Comments »