INDIANAPOLIS -- In Rex Ryan's perfect world, there is no salary cap and the Bills' new owners would spend to make Buffalo an all-star team. Rex knows he doesn't live in that world, which is why Mario Williams probably will be released.
"I'd love for Mario to be back," said Ryan, "but how realistic is that?"
Answer: Not realistic at all. Williams has a $19.9 million salary-cap number and is due $14 million in 2016. Williams told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Wednesday that he would be willing to take a "pay cut" to stay in town, if the Bills met him "halfway" in terms of adjusting Rex's scheme. Williams believed he didn't rush the passer enough last season.
Rex did not sound particularly amused about the questions regarding his defense.
"We were terrible," Ryan said sarcastically with an exaggerated eye roll. "And I can't coach defense anymore for some reason."
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But Rex does have an explanation for why the team struggled.
"Our front guys played five games together last year, I don't know if you guys remember that or not," Ryan said.
Few coaches notice slights and internalize them more than Ryan. And few players have ever criticized Ryan publicly like Williams. That's another reason to believe the Bills will let go of Williams before free agency starts, even if he's willing to take a pay cut.
Here were some other takeaways from Ryan's time with the media here at the NFL Scouting Combine:
1. Rex on working with his brother Rob: "Terrible."
After a minute, Rex said it had been a fantastic experience thus far and he wondered why they waited so long.
"We haven't fought yet."
2. Rex, in full troll mode, chided "most of this room" for criticizing the team's selection of cornerback Ronald Darby. The room seemed confused.
3. Rex cracked jokes, but he definitely struck a more humble tone when asked what he's learned over the years: "I figured this out: I don't have all the answers."
5. Ryan was adamant that the team is in a better situation than they were a year ago because they have "found our quarterback."
6. Ryan said he was doing his best to recruit Richie Incognito to return to the team.
7. Finally, Rex came up with the slogan for the 2016 squad: "We've got to be all in. It's kind of like being half-pregnant. Forget that. We're all in. We're fully pregnant now."