Texans defensive end-turned-linebacker Mario Williams has elite pass-rushing ability that is sure to make him a popular target when free agency opens on March 13. But the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft is concerned more about being in the right system than he is about being the highest-paid defensive player in league history, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports.
“I was the first pick (2006), and I’ve already had everything I really wanted, so my biggest thing is to be in a good position, a good scheme, a good system and continuing my career. Hopefully, it works out,” Williams said. “It’s always important to be in a position to be successful. That comes with teammates around you, coaching, having that winning attitude. You want to (play) where you can thrive no matter where you are.”
A defensive end his first four seasons in the NFL, the 6-foot-7, 295-pound Williams quickly adjusted to the 3-4 defense under first-year defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, posting five quarterback sacks in five games before suffering a season-ending pectoral muscle. That injury has healed, and the Texans would like Williams back, but using the franchise tag is not a feasible option at it would cost the Texans $21.99 million in guaranteed base salary, 120 percent of Williams’ 2011 salary cap number.
“This is home,” Williams said of Houston. “Everything that’s happened here has made such an impact on my life. It’s been great. Hopefully, it continues with whatever decision they make.”