Browns general manager Tom Heckert recently told local press that the team will not be “going crazy” in free agency. In lieu of his statement, coupled with the addition of the team’s belief that there are no “Reggie Whites” to be had, Pro Football Talk’s Evan Silva believes this officially takes Cleveland out of contention to acquire the services of free agent Mario Williams.
Williams, the first-overall draft pick in 2006, is one of the premier pass-rushing defensive ends in the league. With the franchise tag set to cost the Houston Texans roughly $22 million, the two-time All-Pro becomes one of the biggest free agents to hit the open market.
The Browns are said to be looking for an upgrade to play opposite of 2011 second-round pick Jabaal Sheard, but Williams would likely draw a contract comparable to (if not greater than that of) Julius Peppers, who signed a six-year, $91.5 million deal in 2010.
Williams will be coming off of an injury-shortened 2011 campaign where he recorded five sacks and 11 tackles in just five games. For his career, he has amassed 241 tackles, 53 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and a touchdown.