Buf­falo signs DE Wil­liams to $100M deal

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY BAR­RY­WILNER

NEW YORK | Me­ga­tron and Mario, the rich­est play­ers in the NFL.

When line­backer-end Mario Wil­liams signed a six-year con­tract Thurs­day with the Buf­falo Bills worth $100 mil­lion, $50 mil­lion guar­an­teed, he be­came the high­est-paid de­fen­sive player in league his­tory. Wil­liams’ megadeal fol­lowed by one day the $132 mil­lion con­tract the Detroit Lions gave their star re­ceiver, Calvin John­son.

John­son’s haul is the most for any NFL player at any po­si­tion.

Other than Pey­ton Man­ning, whose search for a new team con­tin­ues, Wil­liams was the most sought free agent in this year’s class; John­son al­ready was un­der con­tract in Detroit.

“It’s one of those things you don’t get many chances like this, and op­por­tu­ni­ties to come in and be the guy who can help the team get across the hump,” said Wil­liams, who was in Buf­falo since the free agency pe­riod opened Tues­day, hav­ing been flown in from his home in North Carolina. “And that’s def­i­nitely what I’m here for. My whole in­ten­tion is to come here, work with guys like Kyle [Wil­liams] and [Mar­cell] Dareus and make this thing hap­pen.”

The first over­all draft pick by Hous­ton in 2006, Wil­liams be­came a pass rush­ing force and all-around stand­out at end be­fore mov­ing to line­backer in the Tex­ans’ new 3-4 align­ment last year. But he played only five games in 2011 be­fore a torn chest mus­cle side­lined him.

Ear­lier Thurs­day, guard Ben Grubbs agreed on a five-year, $36 mil­lion con­tract with New Or­leans, where he will re­place All-pro Carl Nicks, who left the pre­vi­ous day for NFC South ri­val Tampa Bay. Grubbs gets $16 mil­lion guar­an­teed, in­clud­ing a $10 mil­lion sign­ing bonus.

“Ben comes to us from an of­fense in Bal­ti­more that ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of suc­cess, both run­ning the foot­ball and in pass pro­tec­tion,” Saints gen­eral man­ager Mickey Loomis said. “He was a big part of that and we be­lieve that he can come right in and fit into our pro­gram with­out miss­ing a beat.”

An­other of­fen­sive line­man switch­ing teams was Steve Hutchin­son, a five­time All Pro with seven Pro Bowls who left Min­nesota for Ten­nessee. Hutchin­son changed teams as a free agent once be­fore, in 2006 when he left Seattle for the Vik­ings. The Sea­hawks gave him a tran­si­tion des­ig­na­tion, but then couldn’t match the deal he got with Min­nesota, which in­cluded stip­u­la­tions the Sea­hawks couldn’t han­dle un­der the salary cap.

Kansas City agreed to a three-year, $9 mil­lion deal with tight end Kevin Boss, who spent one sea­son with Oak­land after four with the New York Gi­ants. The Chiefs’ starter at the po­si­tion, Tony Moeaki, missed all of 2011 with a torn left knee lig­a­ment.

Safety Brod­ney Pool took a one-year deal with Dal­las, which has been busy in free agency de­spite los­ing $10 mil­lion in salary cap space over the next two sea­sons for over­spend­ing in the un­capped 2010 sea­son. Pool joins cor­ner­back Bran­don Carr, quar­ter­back Kyle Or­ton, full­back Lawrence Vick­ers and of­fen­sive line­man Mackenzy Ber­nadeau with the Cow­boys.

Line­backer Dan Con­nor, who spent his first four NFL sea­sons in Carolina, got a two-year deal from the Cow­boys and is ex­pected to com­pete with Bruce Carter for the in­side line­backer spot next to Sean Lee, a for­mer team­mate of Con­nor’s at Penn State.

Chicago re-signed de­fen­sive end Is­rael Idonije for one year. He had five sacks last sea­son after con­tribut­ing eight in 2010, his first year as a starter.

De­fen­sive end Fros­tee Rucker left Cincinnati for Cleve­land and a five-year, $21 mil­lion con­tract. Rucker had his best sea­son in 2011 with a ca­reer-high four sacks in 11 starts.

The Browns also re-signed of­fen­sive line­man Oniel Cousins and tight end Alex Smith, both back­ups.

San Fran­cisco re­leased cor­ner­back Shawn­tae Spencer, who be­came ex­pend­able after Car­los Rogers re-signed with the 49ers and Per­rish Cox was added as a free agent. The team then added run­ning back Rock Cartwright.

Den­ver agreed to terms with safety Mike Adams, who started a ca­reer-high 16 games for the Browns last sea­son.

The Gi­ants signed oft-in­jured safety Chris Hor­ton, who did not play in the NFL last sea­son. He spent his first three sea­sons with the Red­skins, but missed half of each of his last two sea­sons with toe and an­kle in­juries.

New Eng­land has re-signed spe­cial teams cap­tain Matthew Slater and signed de­fen­sive tackle Mar­cus Har­ri­son. Slater made his first Pro Bowl last sea­son, and has played wide re­ceiver and safety .


Mario Wil­liams, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, played in only five games last year be­fore tear­ing a chest mus­cle.

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