The Buffalo Bills have come under fire for some of their off-the-field moves, but claim they have a plan for success in place and signing Kyle Williams to a long-term deal is part of that strategy.
The team signed Williams to a six-year, $39 million contract on Friday that should keep the defensive tackle in a Bills uniform for the remainder of his career.
"Everything we do in this organization from Mr. [Ralph] Wilson on down is about winning," Bills CEO Russ Brandon said Saturday after the team's 35-32 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. "Our philosophy from Day One is to draft, develop and recognize our core players and Kyle Williams is one of our core players."
Williams earned his extension with his play on the field. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2010 after recording 77 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. He was a first alternate who was added to replace injured Oakland Raiders lineman Richard Seymour.
"This guy was a fifth rounder that is all about production, and that's why it's a huge event for us," Bills GM Buddy Nix said. "To have him and know that he can finish out his career as a Bill. He does and he exemplifies what we're looking for in a player. Everything he does is wide open. He's a good leader, not a 'rah-rah' guy, but when he talks people listen."
Williams, who spoke for the first time Saturday since signing the deal, said his intention was always to remain in Buffalo. It was the Bills who drafted Williams as an undersized defensive tackle out of LSU.
"When I tell you something I'm pretty much telling you the truth," said the 6-foot-1, 306-pound Williams. "It meant a lot to me that when I went through the draft, I feel like everybody got it wrong four times, but when they got a fifth opportunity I think they got it right.
The Bills remain in negotiations with St. John Fisher about extending their training camp deal and Brandon said Saturday he hopes to have a deal in place within the next month.
Brandon met with St. John Fisher president Dr. Donald Bain on Saturday at the game and there's another meeting scheduled for Wednesday. One of the main issues is the two 50-yard grass fields behind the main stadium. In the past, the Bills had a pair of two 100-yard fields that were reduced after the construction of the new track and field stadium.
"There's a pretty good consensus on what we need to get done there and I don't think the field will be an issue anymore," Brandon said. "I think we're pretty pleased with what they've done."
Wide receiver Paul Hubbard was among six players cut by the Bills on Sunday.
Hubbard was released a day after he and backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen helped send Buffalo's wild 35-32 preseason overtime win over Jacksonville into the extra period. The pair hooked up on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left in regulation and then again for a 2-point conversion.
Running back Anthony Elzy, defensive backs Rajric Coleman and Loyce Means, offensive lineman Isaiah Thompson, and punter Reid Forrest were also cut.
The moves bring Buffalo's roster down to 81 players. All teams must be down to 80 players by Tuesday afternoon.
The shuffling of the offensive line, which didn't allow a sack, seemed to work against Jacksonville.
Demetrius Bell started at left tackle and rotated with Andy Levitre. When Levitre was moved to left tackle, Chad Rinehart worked at left guard. The offensive line gave Bills quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen and Levi Brown enough time to complete 26 of 46 passes for 290 yards and three TDs.
"I thought the protection was good from every group that was out there," coach Chan Gailey said. "From the first group, the second group, and even those last guys that were out there. I thought they did a good job of protection. That was a real positive for us."
Defensive end Marcell Dareus' left ankle seemed to bother him at times, but the rookie was able to play throughout the first half and finished with one tackle.
"It was pretty sore but you have to play through those, it is part of the game getting little bumps and bruises,'' he said. "You go get it treated and get well. I kind of had a feeling that I could play today and I tried to go at it 100 percent but I'm going to come back next week and probably be better."