The Bills had their free agent game plan narrowed to a pair of primary targets when the market opened and the club moved quickly to lure two of the top available players at their positions to Buffalo for a visit. One of them has arrived in Buffalo.
Bills GM Buddy Nix and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt flew to North Carolina Tuesday afternoon to personally escort free agent DE Mario Williams back to Buffalo by private jet. Williams agreed to see what the Bills had to offer and traveled back to Buffalo with Nix and Wannstedt.
Williams is now having dinner with Nix, Wannstedt, CEO Russ Brandon, head coach Chan Gailey and DT Kyle Williams this evening as the Bills brass put on the full court press to land the prized free agent. Defensive line coach Giff Smith and assistant defensive line coach William Inge are also seated at the table.
The top pass rusher in this year's free agent class is expected to command a hefty price tag, but in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 earlier in the day Brandon indicated that money would be no object this time around.
"Our philosophy is to draft, develop and retain and add key pieces to the organization that we feel can make a big impact," Brandon said. "We planned on being aggressive and resources will not be an issue whatsoever. And we will try to do our best to bring players into Buffalo that are the right fit. It takes two to tango and we'll see how it all comes out."
"A lot of times they say free agency is like recruiting," said Nix on WGR. "You wine and dine them and take them to a nice restaurant and show them all this stuff and try to sell them. For the player it comes down to one, is who he's playing with, who he's playing for and have I got a chance to win? I've said those three, but the main one is money. Money is first and all the other bells and whistles are nice, but that's not what sells them."
If he signed Williams would line up alongside a Pro Bowl defensive tackle in Kyle Williams, the up and coming Marcell Dareus and in all likelihood veteran Chris Kelsay.
The former number one pick in the 2006 NFL draft, Williams is widely considered the top player in the entire free agent pool. In 82 career games Williams has logged 53 sacks in his career. He finished the 2011 season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle appearing in just five games.
Williams at 6'6" and 283 pounds was viewed by some to be miscast in Houston's 3-4 defense. The opportunity to play as a more conventional defensive end in Buffalo's new 4-3 under Wannstedt is obviously something that has Williams listening.