Tuesday was a busy day for Buffalo who decided about three hours before the NFL’s franchise tag deadline to place theirs on coveted left tackle Cordy Glenn. Moments after learning of Glenn being tagged the Bills also announced the long-awaited release of DE Mario Williams, according the NFL insider Josina Anderson.
I’m told by a source Bills DE Mario Williams has been informed he’s been released.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 1, 2016
Back in January General Manager Doug Whaley made it known that resigning Glenn was “imperative” to their team’s success moving forward, including guard Richie Incognito in that realm of importance as well. At 26 years old, Glenn is coming off of an tremendous season where he helped anchor an offensive line that allowed Bills’ backs to rush for a league best 2,432 yards.
By placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Glenn he will now command a one-year, guaranteed salary of $13.7 million if he agrees to sign the deal to stay in Buffalo – but he also holds the power to negotiate with other organizations. If the 26-year old tackle is offered a deal from another team Buffalo is given the chance to match it and should they elect not to, Glenn’s new club will owe the Bills two first-round draft picks – a very high price to pay for any team.
The Bills essentially hold control over the situation and give themselves some time to negotiate a new deal with Glenn before the July 15 deadline. Should they not strike a deal by then, the two sides can only agree to the one-year franchise tag offer.
By releasing veteran defensive end Mario Williams, Buffalo created $12.9 million in cap space, which makes up a huge percentage of the $13.7 million they’ll own Glenn if he signs the franchise tag. It’s a move that has been predicted from as far back as he regular season and came to fruition today as the Bills look to clear cap space.
The 31-year old defensive end spent four season in Buffalo, accounting for 145 total tackles and compiling 43 sacks, however he struggled this pass season in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme to the beat of 19 tackles and just five measly sacks. It was the second-worst campaign of his career behind his 2011 outing in Houston, which of course led to an abrupt end to his tenure with the team that drafted him number one overall back in 2006.
Had Williams remained on the Bills roster come March 9 – the start of the new league year – he would have been guaranteed the full $19.9 million he was scheduled to make. That would have been the second highest cap hit for a defensive player in 2016, behind the Dolphins Ndamukong Suh ($28.6M).
It’s no secret that Williams wasn’t pleased with how he and other front seven players were being used in Ryan’s defensive scheme, especially after coming off of a year where they thrived under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the beat of a league leading 54 sacks. Ryan has made it clear this off-season that he wants him players to be all in when it comes to his defense and given the price tag that came with keeping Williams wasn’t worth the headache to Buffalo.