The Miami Dolphins will cut defensive end Mario Williams as part of a salary cap clearing Thursday that also included the release of Branden Albert and others, according to the Miami Herald. The four-time All-Pro was coming off the most disappointing season of his professional career. Williams made only five starts and recorded just 1.5 sacks.
Along with Williams and Albert, the Dolphins are also set to part ways with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Williams was released halfway through a two-year, $17 million contract with more than two-thirds of that amount guaranteed. Jettisoning the veteran defensive end will still cost the franchise $2 million in dead cap space, but will save the team more than $6.4 million for signing free agents this spring.
Williams’ departure was no surprise. His lack of production in 2016, paired with his expensive contract — he was in line to have the sixth-largest cap him on the roster — made him an easy choice to jettison.
Despite the recent downturn, Williams has the resume of a Hall of Fame candidate. He was drafted No. 1 overall in 2006 by the Texans and was a First Team All-Pro honoree by his second season in the NFL. He played six seasons in Houston before leaping north to Buffalo in free agency. He signed a six-year deal with the Bills worth up to $100 million and spent four seasons with the team, earning All-Pro honors in 2013 and 2014.
His production slipped in 2015 and he was released, but that wasn’t enough to scare off the Dolphins. However, after one disappointing season near South Beach, he’ll be scouring the free agent market once more this summer.