Williams signs with Bills
Megatron and Mario, the richest players in the NFL.
When linebacker-end Mario Williams signed a six-year contract Thursday with the Buffalo Bills worth $100 million, $50 million guaranteed, he became the highest-paid defensive player in league history. Williams’ mega-deal followed by one day the $132 million contract the Detroit Lions gave their star receiver, Calvin Johnson.
Johnson’s haul was the most for any NFL player at any position.
Other than Peyton Manning, whose search for a new team continues, Williams was the most sought free agent in this year’s class; Johnson already was under contract in Detroit.
“It’s one of those things, you don’t get many chances like this, and opportunities to come in and be the guy who can help the team get across the hump,” said Williams, who had been in Buffalo since the free agency period opened Tuesday, having been flown in from his home in North Carolina.
Earlier Thursday, guard Ben Grubbs agreed on a five-year, $36 million contract with New Orleans, where he will replace All-Pro Carl Nicks, who left the previous day for NFC South rival Tampa Bay. Grubbs gets $16 million guaranteed, including a $10 million signing bonus.
Another offensive lineman switching teams was Steve Hutchinson, a five-time All Pro who left Minnesota for Tennessee. Hutchinson changed teams as a free agent once before, in 2006 when he left Seattle for the Vikings. The Seahawks gave him a transition designation, but then couldn’t match the deal Minnesota offered, which included stipulations the Seahawks couldn’t handle under the salary cap.
“I still see him playing at a high level, even in his 11th NFL season,” said Titans coach Mike Munchak, himself a Hall of Fame guard. “He brings experience and success to our line and into the locker room.”
Kansas City agreed to a three-year, $9 million deal with tight end Kevin Boss, who spent one season with Oakland after four with the New York Giants. The Chiefs’ starter at the position, Tony Moeaki, missed all of 2011 with a torn left knee ligament.
The Chiefs, determined to upgrade the league’s second-lowest scoring offense, also formally announced they had signed running back Peyton Hillis to a one-year contract, for a reported $3 million.
San Francisco released cornerback Shawntae Spencer, who became expendable after Carlos Rogers re-signed and Perrish Cox was added as a free agent. The team then added running back Rock Cartwright.
Browns president and former Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren told Cleveland season ticket holders his team’s trade proposal to St. Louis for the No. 2 overall draft pick, which the Rams turned down to deal with Washington, was “every bit the offer” the Redskins made. Cleveland was interested in Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor.