While Thursday (March 15) was a big day in the NBA, due to the trade deadline, there was some big deals going down in the NFL as well.
Free agent Peyton Manning has been getting a lot of attention as teams scramble to persuade him to join their teams, but over in New England, the Buffalo Bills made a big move, signing defensive end Mario Williams (one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers) to a massive contract, potentially worth $100 million.
According to ESPN.com, Williams’ deal is a six-year contract worth around $100 million, with $50 million in guaranteed money, making it the richest ever given to an NFL defensive player.
“I’m ecstatic, very excited. I can’t wait for the opportunity,” Williams said Thursday after signing. “There’s no pressure. I’ve played against great quarterbacks. And I’m looking forward to playing against these quarterbacks, chasing them down and making things happen.”
After Manning, Williams has been regarded as one of the top free agents available this offseason.
With his addition, the Bills immediately improve their defense, which has had difficulty applying pressure since defensive end Aaron Schobel was released before the 2010 season. Last season, the Bills recorded just 29 sacks last season, 10 coming in one game.
Williams is a two-time Pro Bowl starter and had a franchise-best 53 sacks in six seasons with the Texans. Last season, however, he was limited to playing in five games, as a result of a torn chest muscle. In 2010, he missed three games following surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Despite the injuries over the last two season, Williams says he’s healthy … and ready to make an impact.