Houston Texans Score by Letting Mario Williams Walk

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 15, 2012

Mario Williams is looking for a new home
Mario Williams is looking for a new homeBob Levey/Getty Images

As Mario Williams waffles about playing in Buffalo, the Houston Texans can sit back and relax, confident they made the right choice in letting the former No. 1 overall pick leave via free agency.

Despite Williams' obvious value and dominance, the Texans decided not to franchise him and were unable to reach an agreement with Williams.

A glance at the stat sheet tells you why.

  • Williams has missed 14 games over the last two years.
  • The Texans defense averaged 19 points/game with Williams and 16.6 points/game without him in 2011.
  • Williams has only posted double-digit sack totals twice, and not since 2009.
  • The Texans had 15 sacks in five games with Williams (three a game) and 29 in 11 games without him (2.6). That's a decrease, but not a dramatic one.
  • They forced eight turnovers in five games with Williams (1.6 a game), and 19 in 11 games without him (1.7 a game).

Considering that it was always going to be awkward fitting Williams into Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, it's easy to see why the Texans would let a talented player walk rather than shell out $20 million a year to keep him.

The Texans were already faced with significant salary cap issues, and had to cut excellent lineman Eric Winston to get under the cap. As tempting as it must have been to try and retain Williams, the numbers on and off the field simply don't add up.

The Texans defense will likely regress slightly in 2012, but that won't be because they lost Williams. That's just what happens in football.