The 49ers and Ian Williams scuttled their recent five-year contract agreement after doctors examined his recently reinjured left ankle. Instead, the nose tackle and the 49ers have agreed to a one-year deal worth as much as $6 million but with only $1 million in base salary, ESPN reported.
Williams reinjured the ankle, which he broke badly in 2013 and required multiple surgeries, in the offseason. He had a procedure in the Miami area, and team officials were aware of the operation when they began negotiating his five-year contract, which reportedly was worth $5 million to $6 million per season.
But those negotiations had a caveat: If the 49ers felt his ankle was problematic, the deal would not go through. Team doctors recently examined the ankle and concluded Williams’ availability for Week 1 might be in jeopardy, leading both sides to agree to a revised deal. Under the new agreement, Williams is scheduled to become a free agent next March.
Williams initially was injured early in the 2013 season on a cut block by J.R. Sweezy of the Seattle Seahawks. Williams suffered a broken left leg in 2014 against the New Orleans Saints.
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The 26-year-old Williams was the 49ers’ most prominent re-signing of the offseason. He was coming off his finest season to date, playing in all 16 games and being voted a team captain by his peers.
Williams’ uncertain status raises more questions about the team’s defensive line. Quinton Dial also can play nose tackle, but the 49ers prefer him at defensive end. Mike Purcell, who played 288 defensive snaps last season, is another possible replacement.
The other defensive linemen under contract and expected to be healthy for Week 1 are Arik Armstead, Kaleb Ramsey and Garrison Smith. Free agent Tony Jerod-Eddie has a contract offer from the 49ers he has not yet signed. Glenn Dorsey tore his right ACL in late November.