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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Mario Williams 'far away' from NFC North*

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

For two days earlier this week, we debated whether the Chicago Bears should prioritize receiver or make a run at defensive end Mario Williams when the free-agent market opened. Ultimately, their first move was to acquire receiver Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins.

It's uncertain whether they also reached out to Williams, but we just learned his price tag. After a three-day visit to the Buffalo Bills, Williams signed a six-year, $100 million contract that includes $50 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Bears did make a hard run at Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey, but Mincey signed a four-year deal to remain with the Jaguars. Their 2011 starter, Israel Idonije, remains unsigned.

Most people would agree that Marshall will improve the Bears' offense. But let's just say there are just as many people who are thrilled Williams didn't join him. Here's what Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted upon learning the news: "Congrats to Mario Williams signing in buffalo... far away from the NFC north, thanks big guy"

*UPDATE: Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford re-tweeted Rodgers' thought and added an appropriate "Ditto."