The Buffalo Bills are starting fresh with Sean McDermott as their new head coach, and on Wednesday, the Bills waved goodbye to a mainstay of the roster.
The Bills have officially released safety Aaron Williams from the roster, and made the announcement on Thursday. Williams spent six seasons with the Bills and became a fan favorite throughout his time, but a serious neck injury jeopardized his career twice in the past two seasons.
Williams, 26, initially suffered the neck injury in 2015, tried to play through it, and then was shut down for the majority of the season. He was medically cleared to resume his playing career in 2016 but was then lost for the year after he suffered another injury to his neck -- this time after an illegal block made by Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry. He appeared in only 10 games over the last two seasons.
In his six seasons, Williams accrued 257 total tackles, seven interceptions, and really came into his own when he made the switch from cornerback to safety. Williams had two years remaining on his current contract.
Joe B's Take
This is a move that, as soon as you heard how Sean McDermott approached the situation with his words, you could sense that something this could be coming. When asked about Aaron Williams' upcoming decision, McDermott spoke to them making the decision that was best for the team.
In no way, shape, or form did he make it sound as though this was Aaron Williams' decision to make.
Really, he's a fascinating guy. He matured from the day he was drafted into a lovable, fan favorite -- and a player you know would look you in the eye and give you a straight answer. Unfortunately, none of those factors help him to be an asset for the Bills moving forward.
It's a cold, callous business, but the Bills likely made the right move for them. The simple fact is this: there is no way of knowing if Aaron Williams could ever regain the form that he did when he initially converted to safety, and with a serious neck injury stopping his last two seasons short, this is likely the best thing for all parties.
From a business standpoint, the Bills would have owed $6.625 million to this year's salary cap to keep him on the roster, which made little sense for a commodity that they didn't know they could count on.
On the personal level, with his family and friends both urging him to step away from the game while he doesn't have any effects from the injury that impacts his quality of life, you're almost rooting for Aaron to do what's best for him -- and that's probably to walk away from the game he loves.
As far as cap savings go, the Bills will immediately save $1.775 million on this year's salary cap. If they make it a post-June 1 designation, they would save an additional $2.425 million on the cap this year starting on June 1, which would delay that amount of money ($2.425 million) to impact the 2018 salary cap.
Either way, it's clear the Bills are overhauling this defense the way that head coach Sean McDermott sees fit.