K’Waun Williams

K’Waun Williams Medically Cleared; CB Drawing Interest

K’Waun Williams missed the entire 2023 season after undergoing multiple ankle surgeries. The veteran corner has therefore not played since his Broncos campaign the year prior, but he is on the radar of NFL teams once again.

Williams first underwent surgery on August 28, and there was initial optimism he would be able to return at some point during the year. By October, however, it became clear that would not be the case, with a follow-up procedure proving to be necessary. Good news has emerged on the medical front in his case.

The 32-year-old received clearance earlier this month, Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette reports. That will help his free agent prospects, although Tomasson adds a new Broncos deal will not be taking place. In spite of that, he adds Williams has generated interest from five teams.

Serving as a rotational slot defender in Cleveland to begin his career, Williams took on a larger role during his five-year tenure with the 49ers. The former UDFA logged a career-high defensive snap share of 72% in 2021, and he landed a two-year, $5.2MM Denver deal as a result. The Broncos only had Williams on the field for one season of that pact, though, one in which he recorded 44 tackles, one interception and seven pass deflections.

Williams also posted strong coverage statistics (59.6% completion percentage, 69.3 passer rating allowed) in 2022, underscoring the impact of his absence last season. As a result, it comes as little surprise the Pitt product is on the radar of potential suitors now that he is healthy once again. Still, his age and injury history will no doubt limit him to a short-term deal for the 2024 campaign. It will be interesting to see if he lands an agreement prior to next month’s draft or is forced to wait until teams re-evaluate their secondary setups following the addition of rookies.

AFC West Rumors: Ross, Broncos, Williams

While Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross is dealing with some pretty serious issues off the field, his inability to get onto the field before then never made much sense to people. Yet, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, it was his problems on the field that kept him from making more of an impact.

After an incredibly productive freshman and sophomore year at Clemson, injuries and a bit of a downgrade at quarterback would keep Ross from reaching those heights again for the remainder of his college career. Even after those late struggles kept him from being drafted, many believed that a transition to the NFL, coupled with the opportunity to work in an offense with Patrick Mahomes, would result in a return to greatness for the former top-100 recruit.

Ross would spend his rookie year on injured reserve following offseason foot surgery but would finally enter the 2023 season ready to make his NFL debut. Instead, what we’ve seen is a role receiver who plays mostly on special teams while occasionally rotating in on offense.

Breer’s report claims that there are legitimate football issues keeping him off the field. While Ross is a big body at receiver, he’s not very versatile, struggling to create separation with speed or route-running. In an offense that requires its weapons to contribute in several different ways, it becomes less surprising that Ross is only able to find the field in certain situations.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC West, starting with an update on one of the Chargers‘ top missing weapons:

  • Los Angeles has been tasked with running an effective offense without wide receiver Mike Williams following the veteran receiver’s season-ending ACL tear. While his status for this year is obviously not going to change, Williams underwent a successful surgery yesterday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This may not provide much solace to fans in 2023, but undergoing surgery at this point sets the expectation that Williams will be fully ready by training camp next year.
  • The Broncos made an alteration to their ownership shares earlier this month, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. With the team’s chief executive officer Greg Penner has been handling day-to-day operations since the Walton-Penner group purchased the organization, the Broncos’ controlling owner Rob Walton transferred a block of his shares to Penner, allowing Penner to take the mantle of controlling owner in addition to CEO. Penner’s four children will also receive an allotment of Walton’s shares in the exchange.
  • Denver cornerback K’Waun Williams suffered a setback from a preseason foot surgery that was reported this week to likely be season-ending. The setback required further surgery, which Williams underwent this past Monday, per Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette. The procedure on Williams’ left ankle reportedly went “very well” and will require a recovery period of approximately 12 weeks, allowing him to return in time for spring football practice.

Broncos CB K’Waun Williams Likely Out For Season

One of the league’s most injury-prone teams in recent years, the Broncos have not seen as much trouble on that front to start this slate. But they have been without their slot cornerback throughout the year. That is expected to continue the rest of the way.

K’Waun Williams underwent foot surgery just before the regular season, and the Broncos expressed hope the veteran corner could return during the campaign’s second half. That is no longer on track, with 9News’ Mike Klis reporting Williams needed another surgery, one that is expected to prevent him from playing this season.

The surgery Williams underwent Aug .28 did not work, per Klis, leading to the need for a more extensive second operation, which took place Monday. This second procedure is set to sideline the 10th-year veteran for around three months. Barring an unlikely Broncos surge from 2-5 to the divisional round, Williams will not see the field during what would have been his age-32 season.

This is familiar territory for the Broncos, who have seen unavailability largely define their slot position post-Chris Harris. Denver slid the All-Decade corner to more of an outside role in 2019, upon signing ex-Vic Fangio Bears pupil Bryce Callahan. But Callahan missed all of that 2019 season and battled injuries in 2020 and ’21, missing 12 more games between his final two Denver slates. Letting Callahan walk in free agency after firing Fangio, the Broncos signed Williams — to a two-year, $5.2MM deal — to replace him. Williams played in 14 games last season but underwent knee surgery. Despite changing defensive staffs once again, the Broncos retained Williams this offseason.

Williams spent five seasons as the 49ers’ primary slot corner, coming over after a stint with the Browns. This will likely end up being the otherwise-reliable vet’s second full-season absence; he missed all of 2016 with bone spurs in his ankle, leading to a grievance. Williams re-established himself in San Francisco and joined Patrick Surtain in Denver’s secondary last season. But this contract-year injury will obviously hinder his 2024 market and, given his age, potentially threaten to wrap his career.

The Broncos have used both Essang Bassey and Ja’Quan McMillian in the slot this season. Denver waived Bassey earlier this month and gave the job to McMillian, a 2022 UDFA.

Broncos Move CB K’Waun Williams To IR; CB Fabian Moreau, DT Mike Purcell Re-Sign

Three Broncos are moving to IR. While it remains to be seen how the team will use its eight allotted activations this season, three options became available Thursday.

Cornerback K’Waun Williams, safety P.J. Locke and tackle Alex Palczewski landed on IR. Each must miss at least four games. To replace them on the 53-man roster, Denver brought back longtime nose tackle Mike Purcell, cornerback Fabian Moreau and tackle Quinn Bailey. Each was on the radar to return, and the Broncos are not deviating from their cutdown-day play.

Purcell agreed to be released to help the Broncos manage their roster. He has joined several veterans in yo-yoing off and then back onto an active roster this week. A regular Broncos contributor since he made the jump from the Alliance of American Football to the NFL in 2019, Purcell was also released and then re-signed ahead of last season. Purcell, 32, will again be expected to be a regular on Denver’s defensive line.

An ankle injury, which will require surgery, will lead to Williams’ IR placement. The longtime 49ers slot corner is going into the second season of a two-year, $5.2MM Broncos deal. Essang Bassey, who intercepted three passes during the preseason, may well be called upon to line up alongside Patrick Surtain and Damarri Mathis in nickel sets to start the season.

Moreau, however, will supply depth for the AFC West team. Moreau spent last season with the Giants, coming over after the Texans released him after the preseason. The Broncos signed the former Washington third-round pick earlier this month.

Bailey has been with the Broncos since 2019, working as a backup. Denver’s injury troubles at tackle last season led to Bailey starting his first career game. The team has Cameron Fleming in place as its swing tackle — behind starters Garett Bolles and Mike McGlinchey — but Bailey is back on the roster to provide additional depth.

Broncos Place Baron Browning On Reserve/PUP List, Trim Roster To 53

The Broncos will join other teams in using short-term IR to create roster spots for veterans they cut Tuesday. The team also needed to use its reserve/PUP list. Here is how Denver moved down to the 53-man limit:



  • OLB Chris Allen

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

Browning suffered a meniscus injury this offseason and underwent surgery in June. This obviously deals a blow to Browning’s development, seeing as the converted off-ball linebacker has yet to play a full season at his second NFL position, and Denver’s edge depth. Randy Gregory and Frank Clark lead the way at the position; both are going into their age-30 seasons. The Broncos have seen Gregory, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb miss substantial time in recent years. They will hope Browning, who showed promise opposite Chubb at points last year, can return when eligible.

The Broncos did not place Jerry Jeudy on IR, keeping their No. 1 receiver available once his hamstring heals. This points to the team viewing Jeudy as likely to come back during the season’s first four weeks. Jeudy suffered a hamstring injury late last week; the malady is expected to sideline him for “several weeks.” The team is expected to re-sign Humphrey once it reorganizes its roster, 9News’ Mike Klis notes.

Although Purcell joined Humphrey as a cut, Klis adds the veteran nose tackle is set to come back. Ditto Moreau, as K’Waun Williams is set to head to IR — a designation that will cost the veteran slot cornerback at least four games — upon undergoing ankle surgery. The Broncos kept UDFAs Elijah Garcia, a defensive lineman, and Jaleel McLaughlin, a running back, after strong preseason outings. McLaughlin is the NCAA all-levels rushing kingpin, having amassed 8,161 yards while at Notre Dame College and Youngstown State — Division II and Division I-FCS programs, respectively, in Ohio. He will be the team’s third-string running back — behind Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine.

Broncos CB K’Waun Williams To Undergo Ankle Surgery

Earlier this month, K’Waun Williams was sidelined by an ankle injury which was not immediately thought to require surgery. The situation has now changed, however, and he will miss at least some time in 2023 as a result.

Williams will undergo surgery today, reports Mike Klis of 9News. It is unclear at this point if the 32-year-old will be placed on injured reserve ahead of roster cutdowns or be named to Denver’s 53-man roster and then head to IR. The former decision would sideline him for the campaign, while the latter would guarantee at least a four-week absence to start the year while leaving the door open to a later return. Denver7’s Troy Renck reports that Williams will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

The former UDFA initially elected to avoid a procedure on the injured ankle, preferring to rehab the ailment in the hopes of being ready for the start of the season. That will no longer be the case now, however, and the team will need to move quickly after receiving his prognosis to decide his fate for 2023. An absence of any length will be acutely felt in the Broncos’ secondary given the starter’s role in the slot Williams was in line to retain.

The former Brown and 49er started eight of his 14 contests in Denver last season. Williams recorded one interception, seven pass deflections and strong coverage statistics in his debut Broncos campaign. That made his two-year, $5.2MM deal signed in 2022 seem like a bargain for a Denver team which already has a strong secondary led by former top-10 pick Patrick Surtain.

That unit will be shorthanded on the inside now, adding further to the injury troubles the Broncos are dealing with in 2023. The team’s WR corps has been hit particularly hard with Tim Patrick again suffering a season-ending injury, K.J. Hamler away from the team while dealing with a heart condition and Jerry Jeudy set to miss time with a hamstring issue. Essang Bassey – who played primarily on special teams in Denver last year and filled in for Williams during the preseason – is likely in line for a large defensive workload during the latter’s absence.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Raiders, Samuel

Although their interest in Dalvin Cook appeared to cool early in the long-running sweepstakes, the Broncos did keep tabs on the high-profile free agent. The team continued to look into Cook, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com said during a Rich Eisen Show appearance (video link). Cook has since signed a one-year, $7MM Jets deal. While Pelissero adds the Broncos may look to add another back to a group headlined by Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine, the team is sorting through some options behind the veterans. Second-year back Tyler Badie, rookie UDFA Jaleel McLaughlin and ex-Sean Payton Saints charge Tony Jones Jr. are vying for Denver’s RB3 job presently.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Raiders took a few fliers at cornerback in free agency, signing Duke Shelley and David Long and reuniting with Brandon Facyson. None of the trio looks likely to start. Instead, fourth-round pick Jakorian Bennett looks to have leapfrogged them. Shelley and Long have fallen out of the mix to start, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashaun Reed, who project Bennett to start alongside Marcus Peters and Nate Hobbs (subscription required). Both Long and Facyson have missed time due to injury in camp. The Raiders chose Bennett 104th overall, which would make a Week 1 starting assignment notable. But the Silver and Black, who let Rock Ya-Sin walk (to replace Peters in Baltimore), came into the offseason with major questions at corner.
  • Despite a three-interception wild-card performance, third-year Chargers corner Asante Samuel Jr. faced the prospect of being a backup to start this season. Ja’Sir Taylor, a sixth-round 2022 draftee, has competed with the multiyear starter for the slot job. But Samuel looks to have surged ahead, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. If J.C. Jackson completes his recovery from a torn patellar tendon in time, the Chargers are preparing to roll out a Jackson-Samuel-Michael Davis cornerback look. If Jackson needs more time, the Bolts would likely go with a Davis-Samuel-Taylor trio.
  • The Bolts are fairly set at receiver, with Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis‘ Fort Worth-to-Los Angeles treks giving the team five locks at the position. In addition to the TCU alums, Josh Palmer has made strides in his third training camp. This looked to put Jalen Guyton and John Hightower to a battle for the final spot, Popper adds. But both players are dealing with injuries. After a strong start to camp, Hightower — a 2020 Eagles draftee who has not caught a pass since his rookie year — suffered an injury and has not practiced in a week. Guyton, who suffered an ACL tear in Week 3 of last season, remains on the Bolts’ active/PUP list. Stashing the deep threat on the reserve/PUP list to start the season is looking likely, per Popper.
  • K’Waun Williams is expected to be the Broncos‘ slot corner for a second season, but an ankle injury has sidelined him for over a week. The veteran slot defender sought a second opinion on the injury recently, per 9News’ Mike Klis, who notes surgery is not on the docket at this point. A rest-and-rehab operation will be utilized to have Williams ready for Week 1, though this becomes a situation to monitor for a Broncos team that remains without third-round corner Riley Moss. Essang Bassey filled in for Williams as the top nickel in Denver’s preseason opener.
  • Davis Webb resides in the strange position of being a 28-year-old quarterbacks coach tasked with helping a decorated 34-year-old passer bounce back. But Russell Wilson‘s position coach has been on the coaching radar for a bit now, despite only retiring this year. After the Bills wanted him to be their QBs coach last year, Sean McDermott, Brian Daboll and Eli Manning endorsed Webb to Payton, Jori Epstein of Yahoo.com notes. Webb “blew away” Broncos brass in his interview, per GM George Paton. His final season — as a Giants third-stringer — involved scouting and coaching, Epstein adds, making this an easier transition than it would appear.

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.