K'Waun Williams

49ers Plan To Sign CB Buster Skrine

With longtime slot cornerback K’Waun Williams going down Sunday night, the 49ers plan to sign veteran Buster Skrine, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets.

Skrine has enjoyed a 10-year career, playing with the Browns, Jets and Bears, working mostly as a slot corner. The 49ers are reeling at corner, having seen several key players suffer injuries in recent weeks.

The Ravens auditioned Skrine earlier this month. Otherwise, it has been a quiet 2021 for the veteran inside cover man. Skrine, 32, succeeded Bryce Callahan in the slot for the Bears and has been a regular on defenses since his 2011 rookie season. He is set to join a 49ers coverage corps that lost Jason Verrett for the season and lost Williams to a calf strain in Week 3. The 49ers also played part of Sunday’s game without recently acquired boundary defender Josh Norman. An injury also delayed Emmanuel Moseley‘s season debut by two weeks.

San Francisco has added Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick in recent weeks. The team made the latter a healthy scratch for Week 3, but its latest batch of injuries will likely bump Kirkpatrick back to active duty. Williams, who played with Skrine in 2014 in Cleveland, has been San Francisco’s slot corner since 2017. Rookie Deommodore Lenoir replaced Williams on Sunday.

A former fifth-round pick, Skrine has logged 151 games since arriving in the NFL during the lockout-marred offseason. Skrine’s Browns run ended in 2014, when Kyle Shanahan was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator. Although Skrine was an in-demand free agent in both the 2015 and ’19 offseasons, the Bears cut him shortly before releasing Kyle Fuller amid this year’s salary cap crunch. Skrine graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 92 overall corner last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Re-Sign K’Waun Williams

K’Waun Williams found plenty of interest on the open market, but the 49ers managed to keep him from straying. On Wednesday, the Niners agreed to a new one-year deal with the slot cornerback (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

The veteran cover man agreed to a modest contract to stay in San Francisco, rejoining the 49ers on a one-year, $2.38MM pact, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). This agreement comes after Williams’ three-year, $10MM extension expired after the 2020 season.

The Lions, Chiefs, and Jets also had their eye on Williams. The Jets were an especially logical destination, since Williams played for Robert Saleh in San Francisco.

Williams was limited to just eight games last year between his ankle injuries and knee issues. But, in the previous year, he played in 15 contests with eight starts while snagging two interceptions.

Williams, 30 in July, started his career as a Browns UDFA. Since then, he’s blossomed into one of the league’s stronger slot specialists. Now, he’ll return for another season, along with recently re-signed corners Emmanuel Moseley and Jason Verrett. Richard Sherman, meanwhile, seems destined to head elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Interested In K’Waun Williams

A new team is entering the K’Waun Williams sweepstakes. We heard earlier this morning that the veteran cornerback will meet with the Chiefs tomorrow, and he’s also been connected to the Jets.

The Lions are also expressing interest in Williams, a source told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Maiocco adds that he could be headed to Detroit for a visit, but that’s not confirmed yet. He also notes that the 49ers have expressed interest in a reunion. Williams played for Robert Saleh in San Francisco the past few years, so the Jets talk makes a lot of sense.

Williams was hit with a two-game PED suspension in November, but that was quickly rescinded. He played in only eight games for the 49ers last year due to ankle and knee injuries, starting four. In 2019 he played in 15 and started eight, recording a couple of interceptions. He started his career as an UDFA with the Browns in 2014.

Williams will turn 30 in July, and could be a quality low-cost signing for a team that missed out on the initial wave of top cornerbacks like William Jackson, Shaquill Griffin, and Ronald Darby. The Lions’ secondary is going to look a lot different in 2021 after they cut Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant this offseason. They’re hoping 2020 third overall pick Jeff Okudah will become a top corner this offseason, and could be looking to put a vet like Williams next to him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Meet With K’Waun Williams

K’Waun Williams will get together with the Chiefs on Tuesday, as Mike Kaye of NJ.com tweets. The Jets are also said to have interest in the former 49ers corner, so he could be on the verge of a deal this week. 

Pro Football Focus graded Williams as the league’s No. 7 overall corner in 2019. In 2020, he was slowed down by knee and ankle injuries. Ultimately, he played in just eight games, compiling 22 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. Of course, he wasn’t the only Niners player to be hit by the injury bug. All in all, eight different players started at corner for the 49ers last year.

The 49ers recently re-upped Jason Verrett on a one-year deal worth up to $5.5MM, so it’s not clear if there’s still room to retain Williams. Meanwhile, the Chiefs could install Williams as their new starting slot corner, push L’Jarius Sneed to the outside.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mutual Interest Between Jets, K’Waun Williams

It would be understandable for Robert Saleh to bring some familiar troops to New York, and the new Jets head coach has his eye on one of his former secondary pupils.

The former 49ers defensive coordinator appears to be interested in adding K’Waun Williams. The Jets have the veteran slot cornerback on their radar, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter).

Williams is also interested in rejoining Saleh, Vacchiano adds, though the Jets are not expected to move toward a deal for a bit. That would be a slight risk, given Williams’ status as one of the game’s top slot corners, but Saleh would seem to have a good read on the veteran’s free agency plans.

Saleh and Williams each spent four seasons in San Francisco, with the 49ers signing the ex-Browns slot stopper in 2017. Williams excelled for much of his Bay Area stay, helping Saleh form one of the NFL’s top defenses over the past two seasons. He will turn 30 this offseason.

The Jets used Brian Poole as their slot corner in both years of the ill-fated Adam GaseGregg Williams partnership, re-signing Poole last year. But the veteran is now a free agent. With Saleh coming in, Poole may need to head elsewhere to continue his career. Williams and Poole would not seem to fit as teammates.

The 49ers had nearly their entire cornerback corps due to be free agents but have moved to re-sign both Emmanuel Moseley and Jason Verrett. They are expected to let Richard Sherman walk, and it remains to be seen how they will proceed with Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL To Rescind K’Waun Williams’ Ban

Nov. 25: The NFL has reversed course in this case. The 49ers slot corner will not face a two-game ban. Issues with the testing procedures induced the league to backtrack on Williams’ suspension, according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Williams has insisted he has not used a banned substance.

Nov. 24: We’ve got another two-game suspension to report on the heels of Luke Gifford getting the same ban. This time it’s 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams getting hit for violating the league’s policy on PEDs.

Fortunately for San Francisco Williams is already sidelined with a high ankle sprain and wasn’t likely to play before this suspension will be up anyway. He’ll be eligible to return for the team’s Week 14 game against Washington. Williams is the team’s nickel corner who lines up in the slot. He started the year off playing a little over half of the team’s defensive snaps, but then was sidelined with a knee sprain in Week 4.

He returned in Week 8, but went down with the ankle sprain the following game. He was quite productive last year, finishing with 51 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, and four forced fumbles in 15 games and eight starts. The Pittsburgh product entered the league as an UDFA with the Browns in 2014.

He quickly became a key contributor in Cleveland but was waived after the 2015 season following a dispute with the team over an injury he had at the time. After sitting out 2016 with that injury he signed with San Francisco the following year. His strong play earned him a three-year extension worth $10MM that is set to expire at the end of this season. He’ll be a free agent this offseason and due to the high marks he received last year, he’s likely in for a raise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers CB K’Waun Williams Out 4-6 Weeks

49ers nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams is expected to miss four to six weeks with the high ankle sprain that he suffered in the team’s loss to the Packers on November 5, as Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Williams played just four snaps before going down with the injury.

It’s especially unfortunate timing for Williams, who had just been activated off short-term injured reserve at the end of October. And, since he has already been on injured reserve this year, his season will be over if he goes back on IR. So the team will wait to see if there is a chance he can return before making that decision.

The 4-5 Niners have been ravaged by injury this year, but they still have an outside shot at the playoffs. They will battle the Saints this afternoon, and Jamar Taylor will likely continue to get reps at slot corner in Williams’ absence.

San Francisco has a bye next week but expect to have CB Richard Sherman back on the field in Week 12. Sherman has been on IR since Week 2 with a calf injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said the 32-year-old practiced all three days this past week (Twitter link via Matt Barrows of The Athletic). If the 49ers somehow pull off the upset against New Orleans this afternoon, their Week 12 matchup against the division rival Rams will be especially important.

Sherman and Williams, like the rest of the Niners’ CB corps, are eligible for free agency at the end of the season. The team has a whopping 40 players on expiring contracts, so GM John Lynch will have a lot of work to do, especially in the defensive backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Activate Coleman, Williams

The 49ers’ backfield is inching closer to full strength. Against Seattle, San Francisco will have Tevin Coleman back after five straight absences.

Injured in the 49ers’ Week 2 bloodbath against the Jets, Coleman will join Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty as available running backs for the visitors in this NFC West matchup Sunday.

San Francisco will also have slot cornerback K’Waun Williams available. Both players returned to practice this week. Jordan Reed did as well, but the 49ers did not choose to activate him ahead of the Saturday deadline. A knee injury sidelined Coleman, while Williams will make a return after just three weeks despite suffering an ACL sprain.

Coleman operated as the 49ers’ starting back at points last season, but he has battled injuries during both of his Bay Area seasons. Coleman averaged 4.0 yards per carry in a 544-yard season but saw Raheem Mostert usurp him as the team’s top back. Mostert, however, is on IR because of a high ankle sprain and is not likely to return in the near future. Coleman is due to be a 2021 free agent.

Williams’ return will be a welcome sight for a 49ers team still missing Richard Sherman. The 49ers have seen a rare run of health from Jason Verrett and now have both Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon available. Williams has operated as San Francisco’s slot corner for four seasons. This will leave Sherman as the only cog missing from the team’s corner corps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

IR/Activation Notes: Njoku, 49ers, Rams, Giants

David Njoku is back. The Browns announced this morning that they’ve activated the tight end from the injured reserve.

The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during Cleveland’s season opener, and he was subsequently placed on IR. He was designated for return earlier this week, and coach Kevin Stefanski indicated that Njoku would see the field sooner than later. The tight end had three receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown in Week 1, surpassing some of the totals he compiled during his injury-plagued 2019 campaign.

Njoku requested a trade back in July, only to rescind it in early August. While the former first-rounder sits behind free agent addition Austin Hooper on the depth chart (and has to battle the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt for targets), Njoku should still see a role in the offense going forward.

Let’s check out some more IR/activation notes from around the NFL…

  • The 49ers‘ injury woes continue, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (biceps) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (knee/hip) are heading to the IR. Ansah joined San Francisco in late September, and he’s proceeded to appear in two games. He spent the 2019 campaign with the Seahawks, finishing with 18 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 2.5 sacks. Williams has spent the past three-plus seasons with the 49ers, and he’s started two of his four appearances this season. Fortunately, there is some good news out of San Francisco, as head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start Sunday against the Dolphins (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). Garoppolo has missed the past two-plus games, with the team mostly turning to Nick Mullens in his stead.
  • 2020 third-round pick Terrell Lewis could make his debut for the Rams this weekend. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets that the rookie linebacker has been activated off the IR. Following a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Lewis underwent a knee scope just before the start of the season. The former Alabama standout could immediately see some time on the edge for the Rams.
  • The Giants placed linebacker Oshane Ximines on IR with a shoulder injury, reports SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (via Twitter). The 2019 third-rounder saw time in all 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 4.5 sacks. He started three of the Giants first four games in 2020, collecting five tackles.

49ers’ K’Waun Williams Suffers ACL Injury

49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams played through a somewhat rare ACL sprain on Sunday, but he won’t need surgery to correct the issue, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. If rehab goes well, Williams could be back in action in as little as three weeks. For now, he’ll be shelved on the injured reserve list.

[RELATED: Torn Biceps For 49ers’ Ziggy Ansah]

That’s relatively good news, though the Niners are already shorthanded due to a rash of injuries. Hopefully, Williams is able to make a quick recovery while also healing up from his previous hip issue. Fellow cornerback Richard Sherman might not be back for a little while either, putting more pressure on Jason Verrett and the rest of the group to keep a lid on things. Starter Emmanuel Moseley remains in concussion protocol and the Niners are waiting to see if Ahkello Witherspoon‘s hamstring will allow him to play this week.

Williams, 29, has started in 26 of his 47 games since joining the 49ers. Last year, he set a new personal watermark with two interceptions and also tallied his fourth career sack.

The Niners dropped to 2-2 on Sunday as the Eagles pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. This week, they’ll look to get over the .500 mark against the Dolphins, who are rolling with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter.