The NFL’s free agency period doesn’t technically start until March 9, but teams are free to sign players who didn’t play in the 2016 season.
That’s exactly what the 49ers did Wednesday when they added cornerback K’Waun Williams to their secondary on a one-year contract.
Williams last played for the Cleveland Browns, who waived him when he sat out a preseason game after complaining of ankle soreness. The team fined and suspended him before letting him go. But, when the Chicago Bears picked him up, they found he required surgery for bone spurs in his ankle.
That led Williams to file a grievance against the Browns. He’s seeking $600,000 in salary and to recuperate his medical costs.
Williams received interest from the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets before picking the 49ers.
The 25-year-old has started 10 games, logging 69 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks.
He’ll presumably vie for a job as the 49ers’ nickel cornerback.
Gamble leaves team
Tom Gamble, who was promoted under former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, left the organization on Wednesday, the team announced.
“After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities,” GM John Lynch said in a news release. “Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
Lynch hiring personnel experts Martin Mayhew and Adam Peters shortly after joining the team earlier this month signaled Gamble’s inevitable departure.
Gamble spent 10 years with the 49ers before leaving.