ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Bills have made no secret of
their need to improve their pass rush, and are hoping prized free agent,
defensive end Mario Williams, can be convinced to provide that push.
Williams accepted the Bills' invitation to meet with them in Buffalo
on Tuesday, the first day of the NFL's free agency period, two people
familiar with discussions have told The Associated Press. ESPN first
reported Williams' scheduled visit with the Bills earlier in the day.
The Bills have also expressed interest in free agent receiver Robert
Meachem, one of the people said, though it's initially unclear if the
former New Orleans Saints' receiver has agreed to visit Buffalo.
The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
Behind quarterback Peyton Manning, Williams is regarded as one of the
top free agents on the market, which means the Bills would have to pay a
hefty price if they intend to land the player selected first overall in
the 2006 draft by Houston.
Bills CEO Russ Brandon indicated earlier in the day that the team is
willing to be aggressive, in an interview with Buffalo's WGR-Radio.
"We plan to be aggressive in free agency, and resources will not be an issue,'' Brandon said.
In six seasons, Williams became the Texans' top defensive player before being slowed by injuries in each of the past two years.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, Williams is a two-time Pro Bowl
starter, who set a Texans' franchise-best 53 career sacks, including a
team single-season best 14 in 2007. Williams was limited to playing just
five games last season as a result of a torn chest muscle. He also
missed three games in 2010 after having surgery to repair a sports
Despite Williams' absence last season, the Texans defense finished
second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, and set a team record with 44
sacks while helping Houston to its first playoff appearance. Before
making a decision on whether to re-sign Williams this offseason, the
Texans went ahead and re-signed running back Arian Foster to a
five-year, $43.5 million contract.
Both Bills general manager Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey have
emphasized this offseason that improving the team's pass rush is among
the top offseason priorities. Buffalo (6-10) managed just 27 sacks last
season, 10 of them coming in a 23-0 win over the Redskins on Oct. 30.
Earlier on Tuesday, Texans owner Bob McNair said he was still
interested in re-signing Williams, but noted they would have to compete
with other teams now that the player became a free agent.
AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan, in Houston, contributed to this report.