49ers sign K'Waun Williams, who has grievance pending vs. Browns

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers got an early start on free agency Wednesday, signing cornerback K'Waun Williams to a one-year deal.

After spending the 2016 season out of football because of an ankle injury, Williams chose the Niners over interest from the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins.

Williams, 25, will be reunited with defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley, who coached Williams with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and 2015 before joining the 49ers staff.

The Browns waived Williams in August after he was suspended and fined for saying his ankle was too sore to play in a preseason game. The Chicago Bears claimed Williams off waivers but released him two days later because a physical showed he needed surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle.

Williams' grievance against the Browns is pending; a hearing is scheduled for May 16 in Cleveland. He is seeking his $600,000 base salary from 2016 and the cost of his ankle surgery.

For the Niners, Williams will compete in a crowded secondary for the nickel cornerback job. Will Redmond and Keith Reaser are among the corners expected to compete for that role in the slot. Restricted free agent Chris Davisalso could be in the mix if he returns.

Williams originally signed with Cleveland as an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh in 2014. He appeared in 26 games for the Browns, posting 69 tackles, 10 passes defended, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks.
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