The NY Jets are expected to explore a number of former San Francisco 49ers players this free agency following the hiring of new head coach Robert Saleh. And one of those players appears to be cornerback K’Waun Williams.
As reported by uStadium on Friday, the Jets “hope to sign” Williams when free agency opens next week. The report also states that the 49ers want him back, but that the Jets plan to make a push for the talented cornerback.
Williams has been one of the best nickel cornerbacks in football over the last few years. And with Brian Poole set to hit free agency again, it seems as though the Jets are intending to move on from the veteran corner.
Poole has played very well over the past two years, but with a change in scheme, the Jets might opt to target someone like Williams who could be cheaper and a better fit.
The NY Jets could target K’Waun Williams in free agency
Williams was one of the more underrated pieces of the dominant 49ers defense that took the NFL by storm in 2019. The former undrafted free agent finished with an outstanding Pro Football Focus grade of 80.3 in 2019 that ranked him as the seventh-best cornerback in football.
It was a breakout year for a player who had been solid throughout his career, but had never received national recognition.
Williams was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns where he played the first few years of his career before joining the 49ers prior to the 2017 season. In four seasons in San Francisco, Williams developed into one of their more consistent defensive players.
Unfortunately, he missed about half of the 2020 season with a knee injury — one of a number of 49ers players that found themselves on the injured reserve. Now set to hit free agency, the Jets appear prepared to make a move.
Williams is a local product from Paterson, New Jersey who has plenty of experience in Saleh’s system. He turns 30-years-old in July, but there are reasons to believe he’s a better fit with the Jets than Poole is.
Poole found his greatest success under Gregg Williams in a man-heavy defense, something the Jets are likely to shift away from under Saleh and new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.
While Poole has experience playing in a predominantly zone defense, he struggled at times with the Atlanta Falcons in such a system. The Jets might believe that Williams is a better scheme fit.
If reports are true, Brian Poole’s time in New York might be coming to an end. And K’Waun Williams is the player who could replace him.