Mario Williams: Would Atlanta Falcons target defensive end?


Mario Williams is reportedly unhappy with his role with the Buffalo Bills. Would the Atlanta Falcons be an ideal fit for the former No. 1 overall pick?

Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams is reportedly not happy playing for Rex Ryan on the Buffalo Bills. Instead of using Williams as a fantastic situational pass rusher, Ryan has been relentless in how he uses his defensive line. This has led to frustrations in the Bills’ locker room, as it has hurt the players’ overall productivity on the supposedly vaunted Bills’ defense.

With Mario Williams reportedly wanting out of Buffalo and the Atlanta Falcons in dire need of a pass rush, would the Dirty Birds consider bringing on the 30-year-old pass rusher that was once the former No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans out of North Carolina State in 2006?

Scheme fit seemed like a concern right away for Mario Williams in Rex Ryan’s heavy blitzing defensive strategy. It seems that being overplayed has hurt Williams’ productivity, as he is best used as a situational pass rusher in the back-end of his prime as a professional. Being overworked hurts his ability to play into his mid-to-late 30s.

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Williams has 94.0 career sacks and is a franchise caliber defensive player in his 10-year NFL career. While Williams was on the fence as a cap casualty for the Bills front office entering this season, his six-year $96 million contract he signed in 2012 is too big of a burden to eat the back-end of it for the Bills organization.

With the Atlanta Falcons’ front office supposedly in a state of flux, it’s hard to say if Dan Quinn will want a situational pass rusher like Mario Williams on his team for a big part of their payroll. However in year one of the Dan Quinn era in Flowery Branch, the Atlanta Falcons still have the worst pass rush in the NFL. The defensive line is still an Achilles’ Heel for this football team entering 2016.

Systematically, Mario Williams would do well in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 Under base defensive scheme as a situational pass rusher. Then again, that may not look so good to get a pass rusher like Williams after Atlanta selected outside linebacker Vic Beasley eighth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Clemson.

In years past, general manager Thomas Dimitroff would have overpaid for Mario Williams’ services on a two-year deal and Atlanta would end up cutting him like they did defensive end Osi Umenyiora and running back Steven Jackson. Quinn, who is in charge of personnel decisions with his 53-man roster, may want to look for a younger, less expensive option to generate a pass rush in 2016.

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Williams could stand as an explosive pass rusher the Atlanta Falcons have not had since John Abraham, but I expect that Quinn won’t go after 30-year-old Mario Williams unless his price drops exponentially. Don’t expect Atlanta to pay anywhere near the $32 million Williams would command in the final two years of his deal with Buffalo.