K’Waun Williams

Broncos CB K’Waun Williams To Undergo Surgery; T Billy Turner Suffers Knee Injury

Starters continue to disappear from the Broncos’ equation. The team’s struggling offense and its top-performing defense, respectively, will lose a player apiece. K’Waun Williams and Billy Turner are set to miss time.

Williams, who has operated as Denver’s slot cornerback since being signed in March, is slated for arthroscopic knee surgery, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The ninth-year veteran will miss at least four weeks, making him an IR candidate. The team’s preferred option at right tackle, Turner reinjured the knee that sidelined him for much of training camp and the Broncos’ early-season action. While Nathaniel Hackett called Turner week-to-week, a Russell Wilson Instagram post would seem to indicate a much longer absence could be on tap.

The Broncos finished Sunday’s game without Turner and center Graham Glasgow, who is being called day-to-day with a shoulder injury. That forced in third-string center Luke Wattenberg, a fifth-round rookie, and third-string right tackle Quinn Bailey. Denver has not activated Tom Compton, who was set to vie for the starting right tackle gig with Turner in camp, from its PUP list yet. The team has also lost left tackle Garett Bolles for the season and has center Lloyd Cushenberry on IR. Left with starting guards and a various third-stringers at the other O-line positions by game’s end, the Broncos allowed a staggering 18 quarterback hits in their loss to the Titans.

Turner initially created a market for himself by blocking for the first of Phillip Lindsay‘s two 1,000-yard seasons in 2018. The Packers invested in the former third-round Dolphins draftee. Turner played both guard and tackle during that 2018 platform season and signed a four-year, $28MM deal with the Packers, who also used him at tackle and guard. Green Bay cut Turner this offseason, but he followed Hackett to Denver via one-year, $2.5MM contract. Turner, 31, has played in four games and started three in his second tour of duty with the Broncos.

Denver, which has used a different Week 1 right tackle starter in each of the past 10 seasons, has seen injuries foil its latest plan at the position. The Broncos have until Wednesday to activate Compton; otherwise, the veteran blocker cannot play in 2022. Compton is also on a one-year deal (worth $2.25MM). Bailey, 27, has been with the Broncos since 2019 but has only logged 90 career offensive snaps. Right tackle stands to be a need yet again for the Broncos come 2023.

Williams, 31, joined Patrick Surtain II and Ronald Darby in forming the Broncos’ top corner trio. But Darby is out for the season. The Broncos will likely turn to former UDFA Essang Bassey at the slot spot, Klis adds. The 49ers’ slot corner for the past five seasons, Williams has not missed any time since signing with the Broncos. Pro Football Focus rates the veteran defender just outside the top 30 among corners.

The Broncos have five IR activations remaining. Cushenberry and Randy Gregory are positioned to return this year. Safety Caden Sterns and running back Mike Boone may as well. As the injuries pile up for the disappointing team, Williams could soon factor into this IR-return picture as well.

Broncos, CB K’Waun Williams Reach Deal

With Bryce Callahan a free agent, the Broncos entered the second week of free agency with a slot cornerback need. They are signing one of the most experienced options available.

Longtime 49ers inside cover man K’Waun Williams is nearing a deal with the Broncos, per Brandon Krisztal of KOA (on Twitter). The sides are closing in on a two-year agreement, per Krisztal and Denver7’s Troy Renck (Twitter link). It appears this deal is done. It is a two-year, $7MM pact, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The contract will likely check in a bit lower, with Klis adding $7MM is the max value here (Twitter link).

This bolsters a Denver secondary that has two outside starters entrenched in Patrick Surtain and Ronald Darby. Williams spent the past five seasons in San Francisco and has been one of the NFL’s better slot corners over the past several years. Williams will turn 31 this summer, but the 5-foot-9 defender worked as the 49ers’ primary slot patrolman throughout his five-year Bay Area tenure. Prior to that, Williams spent time with the Browns.

The Broncos did not have to worry about their slot position for many years, with All-Decade defender Chris Harris manning that post. Harris departed as a free agent in 2020. While Harris is back in free agency, he is two years older than Williams. Broncos GM George Paton also said recently the door was open for Callahan to return, per Renck (on Twitter). This Williams pact being finalized seemingly closes that door. Callahan is coming off an injury-prone Denver stint, though the longtime Vic Fangio charge was also a top-tier slot corner when healthy.

Williams played 72% of San Francisco’s defensive snaps last season and was a reliable cog for the franchise’s Super Bowl LIV-qualifying squad two years prior. Williams’ numbers worsened in 2021, with his passer rating in coverage and completion percentage allowed both increasing from 2020. He did notch a key interception against the Cowboys in the 49ers’ first-round win. The Broncos may not be done at cornerback, but this agreement fills a key positional need before the draft.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.