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2016 NFL Pro Bowl snubs: Ian Williams will get his recognition when it comes time to get paid

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It has been an inconsistent year for the San Francisco 49ers defense, but defensive tackle Ian Williams has stepped up his game. He is a free agent after this season. Will he return in 2016?

The San Francisco 49ers did not have many deserving candidates for the 2016 Pro Bowl, but did manage three players getting recognition. NaVorro Bowman and Joe Saley were selected to the roster, and Alex Boone was selected as an alternate. Bowman was the most deserving of the three. Staley has had an up and down year, and his selection might be more honoring past performance.

One player who did not make the Pro Bowl, but could potentially have at least been in the discussion is defensive tackle Ian Williams. He does not play a sexy position, so he is not going to accumulate big stats, but Ian Williams is quietly putting together a really solid season. I spoke with PFF's Jeff Deeney to get some rankings for Williams thus far. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • Currently T-9th among 70 interior linemen with a +20.2 overall grade
  • +21.1 grade vs. run ranks 8th among 70 interior linemen
  • +17.5 overall grade over last four weeks ranks third among DT/NT behind Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins, and his +15.7 run grade during that time is tops among DT/NT
  • 12th out of 72 DT/NT with a 10.1 run stop percentage

Given the nature of Williams' work, it was unlikely he would get a Pro Bowl nod, particularly during a season in which the defense is struggling with consistency. While Williams won't get that recognition, it's safe to say he'll get some financial recognition this offseason. The pending free agent won't get a monster contract by any means, but look for him to get some decent money.

After injuries cost him sizable chunks of the last two seasons, Williams has shown more of what he can do this year. Per PFF, Williams has gotten 219 snaps in nickel and dime situations. Last year, he got five such chances, all in the 49ers 3-3-5 look. He missed seven games due to injury, but five sub-package snaps in nine games tells us enough about the work he was getting.

It is tough to tell whether or not the 49ers will extend Williams this offseason. The 49ers frequently extend their veterans during the season or two leading up to free agency. They did that with Williams previously, signing him to a 2-year extension during the offseason before the final year of his rookie deal. Will a deal get done before free agency? If not, do you see Williams returning to the 49ers in 2016?