Defensive tackle Kyle Williams has had quite the career with the Buffalo Bills in his 12 seasons with the team, but whether respectfully or otherwise, with professional sports teams there always comes a day when the relationship between the team and its beloved player comes to an end.
Is this the year that the Bills and Williams, who is not under contract for the upcoming season, go their separate ways?
Williams turns 35 in June and has acknowledged that he’s considering retirement. At this point, it’s hard to guess which way he’s leaning. As the longest-tenured Bill on last season’s roster, Williams finally getting to play in a post-season game seems like it would make for the perfect ending to his impressive career , but remember, it was only two seasons ago that he received his fifth-career Pro Bowl nomination, and he wasn’t too shabby in 2017, either. It’s obvious that Williams is still capable of producing at a high level. Still, as far-fetched as the Bills not bringing him back might sound, in reality, it’s a definite possibility.
The Bills have $29,271,937 in free cap space, per Spotrac, to use on free agents once the period opens up in March. Here are three well known and solid options at defensive tackle that are set to become free agents.
Sheldon Richardson, 27, Seattle Seahawks UFA
Richardson has been a force on the interior of defensive lines since entering the league in 2013. He had his moments with the New York Jets, the team that drafted Richardson, but no one could believe at the time the small haul the Jets accepted for Richardson when they dealt him to the Seattle Seahawks last offseason. He’s got a Pro Bowl nomination (2014) on his resume.
2017 stats: 44 tackles, 1 interception, 1.0 sack, and 1 forced fumble
Career stats: 286 tackles, 1 interception, 19.0 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles
Spotrac Market Value: Five years, $59,978,625, $11.9 million per average annually
Dontari Poe, 27, Atlanta Falcons UFA
Poe has made the Pro Bowl twice (2013-14) in his short career. As big as interior lineman are, it’s hard to find any much any bigger than the 346-pound Poe. For what is worth, Poe has a wealth of playoff experience having played in the postseason in four out of his six seasons.
2017 stats: 39 tackles, 0 interceptions, 2.5 sacks, and 0 forced fumbles
Career stats: 239 tackles, 0 interceptions, 15.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles
Spotrac Market Value: Three years, $17,226,873, $5.7 million per average annually
Bennie Logan, 28, Kansas City Chiefs UFA
If the Bills don’t nab either Richardson or Poe, Logan wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. Per Pro Football Reference, Logan showed that he’s a versatile defender by taking snaps at multiple D-Line positions in 2017. His 52 tackles last season were tops among all defensive tackles across the league.
2017 stats: 52 tackles, 0 interceptions, 1.5 sacks, and 0 forced fumbles
Career stats: 215 tackles, 0 interceptions, 7.0 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles
Spotrac Market Value: Not listed
Star Lotulelei, 28, Carolina Panthers UFA
Someone who knows how to process, Lotulelei was with Bills head coach Sean McDermott in Carolina and McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane have shown a real propensity to go after Panthers players.
2017 stats: 25 tackles, 0 interceptions, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery
Career stats: 150 tackles, 0 interceptions, 11.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles
Spotrac Market Value: Four years, $33,611,436, $8.4 million average salary
Richardson, Poe, Logan, and Lotulelei are just four potential free-agent options that the Bills could go with to replace Williams – there are a few other recognizable names, too, who could potentially fill in as decent contributors as well.
For my take though, given what he means to his teammates, the city of Buffalo, as well as Bills fans across the world, I think the organization should definitely bring back Williams if he wants to give it another go. Who doesn’t love seeing big ol’ No. 95 down in a three-point stance decked out in Bills red, white and blue, ready to terrorize opposing quarterbacks?