On March 15, 2012, Mario Williams signed a six-year, $96 million contract with the Buffalo Bills. It was a massive contract, but Williams has been worth every penny for the Bills. Buffalo gained one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.
Williams recently completed his third season with Buffalo and the ninth season of his career. In 48 games with the Bills, Williams has recorded 38 sacks. After nine seasons, Williams has 91 sacks.
Just how good has Williams been in his career and where does he currently stand among some of the all-time greats? Let's take a look.
All-Time Sack Leaders
|1. Bruce Smith (HOF)||200|
|2. Reggie White (HOF)||198|
|3. Kevin Greene||160|
|4. Chris Doleman (HOF)||150.5|
|5. Michael Strahan (HOF)||141.5|
|6. Jason Taylor||139.5|
|7. John Randle (HOF)||137.5|
|7. Richard Dent (HOF)||137.5|
|9. Jared Allen||134|
|10. John Abraham||133.5|
|40. Mario Williams||91|
(Bold indicates player is still active in all tables)
Just looking at the total numbers, Williams is still three to five seasons away from realistically cracking the top ten. That said, he's on pace to eventually get into the top ten based upon sacks per season. Here's a look at how the top ten and Williams fare in terms of average sacks per season.
Sack Per Season Played Average
|Names:||Years Played||Sack Per Season Played Average|
|Reggie White||1985-1998, 2000||13.2|
Williams finds himself right in the middle of the pack in this group. Now this is based on seasons, not games played. Injuries, both minor and major, happen in football and some of these players have had injury shortened seasons, including Williams. If you were to eliminate Williams' five game season in 2011, his yearly sack average increases to 10.75, which would rank him third on the list above. Keeping a double-digit sack total will only get more difficult as Williams gets older, but at 29 years old he's certainly still in his prime.
Since Williams just completed his ninth season in the league, here's a look at where the top ten sack leaders and Williams were after the end of their ninth season in the NFL.
Sacks After Nine NFL Seasons
|Name||Sack Total After 9th NFL Season|
Williams is once again near the middle of the pack. Sidenote: How ridiculous was Reggie White?
What's encouraging to see here is that Greene, Doleman and Strahan all come in with less sacks than Buffalo's defensive end. The trio, third, fourth and fifth respectively, were extremely productive following their ninth seasons in the NFL. Williams could follow suit and skyrocket up the sack list. It's not far fetched, as Williams' sack total this season, 14.5, was a career high.
In 2015, Williams will once again be listed as a linebacker. He played in this role with the Texans in 2011 and Bills in 2013. Even with the position change, Williams' job will be to get to the quarterback. In Houston, Williams recorded five sacks in five games as an OLB. Under Mike Pettine, Williams recorded 13 sacks in 2013. Something tells me he'll do just fine as a linebacker under Rex Ryan.
Six members of the top ten sack leaders of all-time have already been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's just a matter of time before Kevin Greene, a four time finalist, and Jason Taylor, eligible in 2017, join them. There's no telling how many more sacks Williams will notch in his NFL career, or if he'll be Canton worthy, but right now Williams' stats compare well with some of the greatest pass rushers of all time.