TheDirtyWordII Posted February 28, 2012 Share Posted February 28, 2012 The Case Against Mario Williams…Williams has been the subject of much debate over the course of the past month. The prospect of his free agency has reached Haynesworthian proportions. I have to admit, I’m intrigued by the possibility here. But I want to make sure I’m seeing things through a clear lens and not rose colored.Has missed 14 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons: This speaks for itself. His injuries also have been of the ‘soft tissue’ variety (two sports hernias, torn pectoral muscle). That worries me…this isn't a leg being broken, or even an ACL which seem to come back to 100% even if it takes some time. Soft tissue injuries can be not only lingering but can be a pre-cursor to additional soft tissue injuries. John Abraham had a sports hernia and even after being healed, always seemed to have to take care of it. That 'core'...if it gets out of whack, can become a chronic condition.Houston didn’t miss him at all: Fact is, prior to Wade Phillips arrival, HOU finished better than 22nd in overall defense only once (2009 – 13th) during Williams career. Can this all be blamed on Williams…of course not. But it would seem that the acquisition of a veteran NFL defensive mind was more important to them than Williams. Sure JJ Watt & Connor Barwin emerged as big time players, but they were without Williams for the majority of the year and finished 2nd. Why was that? To me, if you're the #1 overall pick at a marquee position, shouldn't you be the defining force for that unit? Defense is different than offense - require 11 guys working together. Not like offense, where if you lose your QB, you could be up shytes creek. But, I can't figure out why Williams despite his prodigious talents, hasn't stepped up to being more of a defining foundation piece for the Texans.$15M/year: That’s what it’s going to take. A lot of cheddar. I don’t mind paying fair market value for talent for sure…and you can make an argument that market value is whatever the Washington Redskins are willing to pay. But if this is what Williams could command on the open market, is his production what you would expect out of such an investment? Let’s look at his career and take out his rookie year. On a per game basis, this is what he produced when you prorate his production over a 16 game schedule.47 tackles11.75 sacks5 TFL’s2 PD’s2.4 FF’s…these are solid numbers, but they don’t blow me away. And let’s be fair about saying that the averages are spruced up by his production in the 2007-2008 time period. Fact is, those numbers above look like John Abraham who over the last 5 years (prorated)…produced as follows.37 tackles11.2 sacks4.5 TFL’s2.5 PD’s3 FF’sWhen Abraham signed 6 years ago, he signed for an average of $7.5M/year and this is what he produced. I get that the salary cap has gone up, and players salaries have to be inflated to reflect fair market value. But 100% in 6 years? Hmmm….With $15M, are we getting a better player than John Abraham? The best DE in the NFL IMO is Jared Allen. Here’s how he compares in those categories (prorated):60 tackles16 sacks6.75 TFL’s7 PD’s3.25 FF’s4 years ago, Allen signed a $12M+/year contract. We just saw Jason Pierre-Paul almost redefine the DE position with his length and athleticism…length and athleticism that Williams can match or at least come close to. But for the most part, we’ve seen Williams produce at a level maybe a bit higher than John Abraham, but not even close to the truly elite DE’s in the NFL.Does Williams have the talent to do it? Absolutely…he was after all drafted #1 overall. And there have been times when his dominance has not only flashed but persisted. Probably the last time he consistently produced though was 2008.Are we signing Williams at the expense of Lofton?: Now, I do believe that the Falcons can get done what they need to get done on the re-signing front while making a big play in free agency. Whether it be Williams or Nicks, or someone else…the Falcons with some shrewd salary cap maneuvering and working out an extension with Matt Ryan, should be able to keep Grimes, keep Lofton…and re-sign some role players. Sure…salary cap room will need to be consumed, but it’s there to be consumed.However, let’s say the Falcons find themselves in an either/or situation. It’s clear Grimes is staying. It’s not as clear about Lofton. So in an either/or situation, what exactly are we gaining if we don’t re-sign Lofton? I ask this because Williams has never been a ‘tackle’ monster. And that’s fine, Allen & Pierre-Paul are rarities.But the past two seasons, teams have passed against the Falcons on 61.6% of their offensive snaps. Seasons in which Lofton has become a premier run stuffing MLB. His presence in the middle dictates play-calling. If Akeem Dent is now our MLB…does that percentage of passing plays go down? Does that play to Williams’ strengths? SUMMARY: Am I sold on the fact that we shouldn’t make a play for Mario? No…he is an enticing talent and there is a part of me that sees the potential here. But the practical and pragmatic part of me also says that this guy isn’t the guy people are claiming him to be…his production bears that out, and if you are going to pay a guy $100M, shouldn’t he have played in at least 60% of the games his team played in the last two seasons? Fact is – if he makes it to the open market, he’s going to cash in and he’s going to cash in at a price level that outweighs his production by a significant margin. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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