Mario Williams' signing with Buffalo on Thursday was cause for celebration upstate, but not in the city, where Jets fans will cringe watching the feared pass rusher pursue quarterback Mark Sanchez twice a year. While Peyton Manning had yet to choose a new team late Thursday, plenty of other players were on the move:
DE Mario Williams to Buffalo
Six years, $100 million ($50 million guaranteed)
The biggest contract in NFL history for a defensive player is also the biggest free agent signing for Buffalo since, well, ever. Despite missing most of last season with a torn chest muscle, Williams was still the most sought-after defensive free agent on the market; he will join with Pro Bowler Kyle Williams and former first-rounder Marcell Dareus to forge a frightening front four.
OG Ben Grubbs to New Orleans
Five years, $36 million ($16 million guaranteed)
The Saints wasted no time replacing departed first-team All-Pro guard Carl Nicks, who on Wednesday signed a 5-year, $47.5 million deal with division rival Tampa Bay. Grubbs made the Pro Bowl with Baltimore in 2011, and will be counted on to clear the same type of holes for running backs Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram that he did for star Ravens back Ray Rice.
RB Peyton Hillis to Kansas City
One year, $3 million (according to ESPN's Adam Schefter)
After a tumultuous season in Cleveland, where he irked teammates by not playing in a game because of strep throat and switched agents three times, Hillis gets a reprieve with the Chiefs. He'll try to recapture the magic that led him to his selection by fans for the cover of Madden NFL 12.
DE Frostee Rucker to Cleveland
Five years, $21 million ($8 million guaranteed)
Rucker recorded a career-best 11 sacks for Cincinnati as the Bengals made the playoffs in 2011 after winning just four games in 2010. He'll try to help engineer a similar turnaround with a Browns team that went 4-12 last year.
QB Dan Orlovsky to Tampa Bay
Two years, $2.5 million
Orlovsky's performances for Indianapolis late in the season, when he led the dismal Colts to a 2-3 record in five starts, were rewarded by the Buccaneers, who signed the former UConn star to back up starter Josh Freeman