HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – It appears the Buffalo Bills are pulling out all of the stops and they seem to have a captive audience in Texans free agent outside linebacker Mario Williams.
Most expected Williams to board an airplane Wednesday back out of Buffalo a day after being flown in by the team on a private jet, but instead the most coveted defensive free agent on the market had his fiancée flown in Wednesday afternoon and then he extended his stay another day.
An announcement Williams will make Buffalo his new home could come as early as Thursday if it still feels right after he has another night to sleep on it.
A source within the Buffalo Bills organization confirmed to SportsRadio 610 the franchise is prepared to make Williams the richest defensive player in the game if he agrees to sign on the dotted line. The source said the recruiting-style visit seems to be going well. The Bills are feeling pretty confident a deal can be done because they convinced Williams stay another night to think over their offer.
Williams was originally scheduled to fly out of Buffalo on Wednesday after making his first visit of the free agency period that began Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Buffalo’s strategy all along has been to convince Williams to sign a contract before leaving town.
The general belief is that if Williams does leave town without agreeing to a deal that he will almost certainly sign with another team even if it is for less money. Teams such as Jacksonville, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago are hoping to talk to him while the Texans remain hopeful they can convince their all-time sacks leader to re-sign here in Houston.
But it does appear that the former No.1 overall draft pick of the Texans is highly unlikely to stay in Houston. His willingness to stick around Buffalo for an extra day and have his fiancé flown into town for a look around is at least an indication that he is seriously entertaining the Bills contract offer.
There had been a belief that Williams wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win immediately but the guaranteed money the Bills are putting on the table may be too hard to pass up. Joining the Bills also gives him a chance to return to his more comfortable defensive end position where he made the majority of his 53 career sacks in a similar 4-3 scheme.
Williams has been critical to the Texans’ defensive success much of his six season here, but they Texans may believe they can still win without the All-Pro pass rusher because they didn’t miss a beat this past season when Connor Barwin and rookie Brooks Reed held down the outside linebacker spots while he sat out the final 11 games with a torn pectoral muscle.