Free agent defensive end Mario Williams has agreed to a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, according to Ian Rapoport, worth $8 million per year. Williams and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan were never on the same page last season, and coming off his least productive season in four years in Buffalo, the Bills parted ways with him before the free agency period opened.
The Dolphins confirmed the signing on Tuesday night:
In Miami, Williams can slide into one of the defensive end spots most recently occupied by Olivier Vernon, who the team slapped with the transition tag earlier this offseason, and Cameron Wake. With Williams under contract, the Dolphins may allow Vernon to depart or release Wake in order to save cap space.
Williams was vocal about his unhappiness with the Bills' defensive scheme. Buffalo went from 54 sacks in 2014 to just 21 sacks in their first year under Ryan, a defensive expert. Williams had three consecutive double-digit sack seasons, but had just five of them last season.
He wasn't well utilized and Ryan elected to move on. Williams had two years left on a six-year, $96 million deal when he was released. Williams has been in the league since he was the first overall pick by the Houston Texans in 2006, but he had the best seasons of his career before Ryan came to town.
Williams obviously has a lot to offer, and if he's used in the right scheme, expecting him to return to his double-digit sacking ways isn't much of a leap. The 31-year-old is a four-time Pro Bowler, last making it in 2014. He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2014 and a second-team All-Pro twice.