The Buffalo Bills won't have to worry about replacing one of their key players with a new starter this offseason.
As the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine got started Wednesday, the Bills announced that defensive tackle Kyle Williams will return for the 2017 season. Following another playoff-less year, Williams said in January that he was mulling retirement, and had yet to come to a decision.
Williams, who will turn 34 in July, has spent all 11 of his years in the NFL with the Bills. He missed the majority of the 2015 season due to a knee injury, but came back and had one of the best seasons of any interior defensive linemen in the AFC in 2016.
The defensive tackle has only one year left on his current deal, and is set to count for $8.3 million on the team's cap in 2017.
Joe B's Take
This is humongous news for the Bills if they are trying to push towards ending the 17-year playoff drought this upcoming season. Kyle Williams has been and still is, one of the best players on the team.
Furthermore, his relationship with defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been very important to the development -- and subsequent success -- of the former third overall pick. Williams comes back to play in the defense of new head coach Sean McDermott and shifts back into his more natural role as a 4-3 defensive tackle.
Not only is Williams coming back great news for a defense that doesn't have to replace him, but also for one that is rife with question marks in quite a few other spots:
- The Bills still do not have an answer from safety Aaron Williams as he continues to mull retirement.
- It's starting to look likely that cornerback Stephon Gilmore will leave for a greener, more lucrative pasture, which means they'll need a new starter there.
- Corey Graham's play at safety last season dipped quite a bit in 2016
- Do the Bills current linebackers (Preston Brown, Reggie Ragland) fit the new defensive scheme, and if so, where?
- Even if they do, a third starting linebacker will be needed.
- The depth at pass rusher, behind Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson, is non-existent.
So, clearly, the Bills have their fair share of issues to deal with even before Kyle Williams, so getting him back is a big break in their favor.