Could Buffalo’s longtime defensive leader finally retire in 2017? Speaking during Buffalo’s season-finale broadcast on Sunday, play-by-play man Andrew Catalon remarked that he had spoken with Kyle Williams before the game, learning that Williams was unsure if he would return for the next season
“When we met with Kyle Williams last night, he’s 33 years old, a ton of back injuries throughout this season that have really been bothering him,” said Catalon. “We asked him, ‘Next year are you going to keep playing?’ He said ‘I don’t know. I really want to see what happened here because if they blow up this team, meaning completely rebuild, I son’t know if I want to stick around for that.’”
Catalon added Williams had a lot of nice things to say about Anthony Lynn, the rumored front
Throughout the depressing ebbs of each season in Buffalo’s ongoing playoff drought, Williams has been the stalwart that fans, players, and coaches could unite behind. Drafted as a 5th round pick in 2006, Williams has gone on to play 151 games with the Bills, and he ranks sixth in the franchise record books with 40.5 career sacks. The four-time Pro Bowl player has battled back and ankle injuries in recent years, and at 33 years old, he’s earned retirement if he’s ready for it.
It would be disappointing to see Williams go the way of number two on the sacks list, Aaron Schoebel, and retire after spending his whole career without sniffing the playoffs on the Bills. Still, Williams has noted that he doesn’t want to see the team start over and rebuild. If the franchise decides to build up “continuity” by promoting Lynn, could that keep him around for another year?
Then again, the Bills will also have a difficult choice to make with Williams next season. The tackle is owed $8.3 million in salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract, and the team could save $6.8 million of that if they cut him - something a team that frequently flirts with the salary cap could use. Of course, if Williams retires, it would save them that contract decision.