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Bills court Mario Williams; CEO says resources not an issue

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Mario Williams kicked off the start of the free-agency period by visiting the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, the team confirmed.

Mario Williams (left) walks with Bills GM Buddy Nix.
Mario Williams (left) walks with Bills GM Buddy Nix. (Buffalo Bills)

The Bills sent out a link to a photo of Williams and general manager Buddy Nix talking after the defensive end/linebacker arrived in Buffalo.

The Bills have made no secret of their desire to improve their pass rush, and they're hoping Williams can be convinced to provide that push. The aggressive pursuit might have moved the Bills past the Chicago Bears as the favorites to land the free agent, according to NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.

Nix and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt flew to North Carolina and picked up Williams in a private jet, according to the team's official website. Williams was scheduled to have dinner Tuesday with Nix, Wannstedt, CEO Russ Brandon, coach Chan Gailey and defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

A league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that Williams wasn't expected to reach terms on a contract with Buffalo on Tuesday night, and he has at least one other visit scheduled with another team.

Brandon also revealed Tuesday that the team was courting Robert Meachem, but the Chargers later announced that the free-agent receiver agreed to a four-year deal to play in San Diego.

Williams is regarded as the top free agent on the market not named Peyton Manning, which means the Bills will have to pay a hefty price if they intend to land the player selected first overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. But Brandon, in an interview with Buffalo's WGR-AM earlier Tuesday, indicated the team is willing to spend.

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"We plan to be aggressive in free agency, and resources will not be an issue," Brandon said.

Williams, a two-time Pro Bowl starter, most recently played linebacker for the Texans, but he'd likely switch back to defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, which the Bills plan to run next season. The Bills managed just 27 sacks last season, tied for 27th in the league, and registered 10 of them during a 23-0 victory over the Washington Redskins on Oct. 30.

Texans owner Bob McNair said earlier Tuesday he still was interested in re-signing Williams.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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