Tonawanda News

Bills

March 13, 2012

Bills court 2 free agents: DE Williams, WR Meachem

(Continued)

ORCHARD PARK —

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, Williams is a two-time Pro Bowl starter, who has a franchise-best 53 career sacks, including a team single-season best 14 (2007). Williams was limited to playing just five games last season as a result of a torn chest muscle. He also missed three games in 2010 after having surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Despite Williams' absence last season, the Texans defense finished second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, and set a team record with 44 sacks while helping Houston to its first playoff appearance. Before making a decision on whether to re-sign Williams this offseason, the Texans re-signed running back Arian Foster to a five-year, $43.5 million contract.

Both Nix and Gailey have emphasized this offseason that improving the team's pass rush is among the top offseason priorities. Buffalo (6-10) managed just 27 sacks last season, 10 of them coming in a 23-0 win over the Redskins on Oct. 30.

Earlier on Tuesday, Texans owner Bob McNair said he was still interested in re-signing Williams, but noted he would have to compete with other teams.

Adding depth at receiver is another goal for the Bills, who are in need of a proven complement to play opposite Stevie Johnson. He signed a five-year contract last week.

Meachem has the potential to fill that role. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Meachem is coming off three consecutive 600-yard seasons with the pass-happy Saints. That includes 40 catches for 620 yards and six touchdowns last year.

His best season came in 2009, when he had 45 catches for 722 yards and nine scores.

The Bills offense made strides last year behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in finishing 13th in the NFL in yards passing. That was a major step for an offense that had finished 22nd or worse in each of the previous eight seasons.

AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan, in Houston, contributed to this report.

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