Much Ado About Mario: Can the Houston Texans Afford to Keep Pro Bowler

Brett StephenAnalyst IIJanuary 19, 2012

Mario Williams will be a highly covetted free agent in 2012
Mario Williams will be a highly covetted free agent in 2012Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Chronicle writer and Texans’ insider John McClain reports that general manager Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak intend to re-sign Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams this offseason.

Williams is set to become a free agent in 2012 and will likely demand a large salary from whatever team lands him.

The Texans would love to have him back, but the financials do not seem to indicate that they will be able to keep him.

If they place their franchise tag on Williams, he will count for about $23 million against cap space that is non-existent.

The Texans could potentially do a sign and trade deal with Williams, but other franchises would know that they Texans could not keep him and would hold all of the leverage in any deal. 

It will be virtually impossible for the Texans to keep both Williams and Arian Foster and with the defense not missing a beat with Williams out this season, it’s hard to imagine that Smith and Kubiak would choose him over Foster.

While it will be hard to let go of such a talented player without getting anything in return, it just doesn’t make financial sense to waste time on Williams at this point in the franchise’s history.

Look for Houston to move on from the Mario Williams era in 2012 and build around the talented players that led their defense this season like J.J. Watt, Jonathan Joseph, Brian Cushing and Danieal Manning.

The biggest thing that Houston has to worry about is Williams landing on a team within their division.