What to do with Texans outside linebacker Mario Williams?
Houston’s defense didn’t miss a beat this season after Williams was lost for the year with a torn pectoral. In fact they may have improved. Houston’s second ranked defense didn’t hit their stride until AFTER Williams went down. Other outside backers Connor Barwin stepped his game up and rookie Brooks Reed did a hell of a job filling in.
That means that the 6-foot-6-inch, 283-pound Williams is expendable.
Bringing him back will cost a pretty penny. Williams made about $15.15 million this season, and assuming Houston gives a pay increase to Arian Foster and resigns a few other key pieces, they won’t have a whole lot of cap space to work with Mario. That’s because the Texans had less than $900,000 in cap space to work with going into the 2011 season.
I feel the Texans should give Williams the franchise tag and trade him for a high end draft pick or two. That would free up a lot of cap space, allowing the Texans to resign other key pieces. It would also provide an opportunity to look for a veteran free agent cornerback to complement Johnathan Joseph, and to go after a top notch wide receiver prospect in April’s upcoming NFL Draft.
Trading Mario wouldn’t be a popular move. But football is a business, and it wouldn’t be smart for Houston to invest another $10 million of cap space in Williams when they have two players in Barwin and Reed who proved they were capable of similar production.