To clear space for the recently reinstated Anthony Davis on the 49ers’ roster, the team moved starting nose tackle Ian Williams to the NFI/reserve list, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter). Williams is out for the season.
Williams re-signed with the 49ers in March on a one-year, $4MM deal. The sides previously reached a five-year agreement worth more than $25MM, but the ankle injury that will shelve the sixth-year defensive lineman for the season helped induce the amended commitment. San Francisco planned on retaining Williams long-term, but his 2016 season being erased obviously clouds that future.
It remains unknown how Williams injured his ankle this offseason, but that setback cost him millions and now could well send him back into the free agent market on the heels of a lost season.
The former 49ers UDFA has been with the team throughout his career, serving as a reserve from 2011-13 and becoming a starter during Jim Harbaugh‘s final season. Under Jim Tomsula last year, the former Notre Dame lineman started 16 games for the first time. He was going to be a key part of the 49ers’ defense this season. However, the offseason ankle surgery the 26-year-old underwent changed those plans.
A quality run defender, Williams made 65 tackles last season and ranked as one of Pro Football Focus’ top interior defensive linemen, with the analytics website tabbing him as its No. 18 overall interior defender and a top-two 3-4 nose tackle. The rebuilding 49ers are thin behind Williams, with Roster Resource showing the 49ers could be down to UDFAs and part-time contributors Mike Purcell and Tony Jerod-Eddie at nose now.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.