Now that the MARIO WILLIAMS IS CHANGING POSITIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fun has started to die down, I just wanted to openly speculate about something that may or may not be a factor in all this ridiculous, ridiculous hubbub. (So, I may in fact be creating additional needless hubbub? Yes.)
2011 is the final year of Mario's contract. Typically, teams will address star-player contracts during the offseason prior to the final year. Would that be smart in this particular case? Well, if the only worry-factor for you is the fake position change, then - YES!! As outlined here, you can call Mario whatever you want, but he's going to continue doing what he has done in the past - get after the quarterback.
Now, if you're worried about health as it pertains to Mario's contract, fine. That's fair. He never missed games due to injury until last season when the Texans were playing out the string - but you can certainly question the level of his effectiveness when he has played hurt, though I'd argue it's still quite effective.
When the Texans initially said Mario would fill the "Bruce Smith" defensive end role in Wade Phillips' 3-4, it surely didn't excite Williams. Not that Mario needs to have a glamor position in the NFL, but a guy like Mario makes his money sacking the quarterback. He knew playing at DE in a 3-4, he could be effective and useful as before, but it wouldn't necessarily reflect in his stat sheet.
At some point, the Texans changed their mind. My question is - based on what? Wade had previously evaluated Mario's tape and decided he was a 3-4 DE. Then, without even getting on to a practice field one single time, suddenly Mario is going to be rushing the passer on most downs, because that's where his greatest talents lie. Well, okay. We knew that already, and so did you, son of Bum.
So there you go. In a week where crazy conspiracy theorists are once again flooding the Internet with their special brand of stupid in the political/world events realm, I present a perhaps equally-ridiculous theory to you.
The Houston Texans, fearing that Mario may not want to re-sign with them if he was locked-in to the defensive end position in the 3-4, instead are going to allow Mario to use his ability to get to the QB as an OLB... or whatever you want to call him. Let Mario Williams rush the passer? INSANE!
In the end, it's going to be the same Mario Williams... it just may not look the same as it did before.