The shock has worn off around the league, and the news conference is over. Buffalo fans have blitzed the Bills' ticket office and ordered their Mario Williams jerseys. Now they want to know: How many games is Williams going to win for them in 2012? Unfortunately, if it's Williams alone we're talking about, the answer is probably close to "one." But don't stop reading, because there's a lot more to it, and that number is far more significant than it sounds.
To look at what Williams means for the Bills, we want to look back at similar players who have switched teams in recent years. That question is complicated by the fact that Williams' raw sack totals haven't matched his talent over the last two years, primarily because of injuries. So we can't just go looking for players with double-digit sacks because Williams hasn't had double-digit sacks since 2008. We can't go looking for Pro Bowl pass rushers because Williams hasn't made the Pro Bowl since 2009. Williams had 5.0 sacks in five games last season before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle, and 8.5 sacks in 13 games while struggling with a sports hernia during the 2010 season.
If we want to find players to compare to Williams, we need to look for sacks per game, not total sacks. And so, I went through every player since 1993 looking for players who switched teams after:
• 0.5 sacks per game over the past two seasons, and
• 0.33 sacks per game in the previous season