The 49ers have released defensive tackle Ian Williams from the reserve/non-football injury list with an injury settlement, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Williams was placed on NFI in July while dealing with an ankle injury.
Williams, 26, originally agreed to a five-year, $26MM deal with San Francisco in the early stages of free agency in March, but the same ankle ailment that ultimately landed him on NFI forced him to accept a reworked one-year contract worth only $4MM. He hasn’t been earning that full salary while on NFI, but the settlement will allow Williams to make a bit more money that he would have on NFI, as Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes.
As such, the injury settlement doesn’t necessarily indicate that Williams suffered a setback in his recovery, per Barrows. Williams will now be allowed to hit free agency and search for deals with other clubs, but the 49ers remain interested in re-signing him after the season concludes. Under the league’s rules, Williams would have to wait three weeks plus the length of the settlement before re-upping with San Francisco.
A former undrafted free agent, Williams had been with the Niners for the entirety of his career, serving as a reserve from 2011-13 and becoming a starter during Jim Harbaugh‘s final season. In 2015, Williams started started 16 games for the first time. A quality run defender, Williams made 65 tackles last season and ranked as one of Pro Football Focus’ top interior defensive linemen, grading as the No. 18 overall interior defender and a top-two 3-4 nose tackle.