HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by linebacker Mario Williams #90 of the Houston Texans on October 2, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.Texans won 17 to 10. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Several prominent members of the Buffalo Bills' front office and coaching staff are dining with free agent defensive end Mario Williams this evening, and Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News reports that the franchise is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Williams from scheduling more free agent visits - including making him the highest-paid defender in the NFL.
Gaughan points to the six-year, $91.5 million deal that Julius Peppers signed with the Chicago Bears in 2010 as the barometer for what the Bills could offer Williams. That Peppers deal, per Gaughan, also guaranteed $42 million and paid $40.5 million in the first three years of the deal.
Needless to say, if the Bills exceed that offer for Williams, they'd be doing just about all they can to ensure they've taken their best shot at landing the best available free agent not named Peyton Manning. It would also clearly be the richest contract they've ever handed out in franchise history, and it would hold that distinction by a country mile.