The move was expected after a down season in which Williams repeatedly attacked coach Rex Ryan's defense, openly questioning his role.
Williams was set to count $19.9 million on the Bills' salary cap. Jettisoning the 31 year old will save Buffalo $12.9 million, with $7 million in dead money. He signed a six-year, $96 million contract in 2012.
Williams is one of the most interesting free agents to hit the market. Teams will have to discern whether 2015 was an aberration or an indicator of a player in decline.
Williams compiled three straight seasons with 10.5-plus sacks during his first three seasons in Buffalo. He excelled as both a 3-4 rush linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end during that span. Yet, last season he struggled, earning five sacks in 909 snaps.
Could Williams have a Julius Peppers-like late-career resurgence? Or is he a big name who will get overpaid on the open market by a team in desperate need of a pass rusher?
We tend to believe last season was a product of a poor fit in Ryan's scheme. Put in the right situation, Williams should be back tackling quarterbacks for the next several years.