May 17, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Bengals sign safety Shawn Williams to four-year extension
The Cincinnati Bengals signed safety Shawn Williams to a four-year contract extension, running through the 2020 season. Prior to the extension, Williams for 2016 was in the final season of the four-year contract he signed as a Bengals third-round draft choice in 2013. Williams (6-0, 210; Georgia) has played in all 51 possible regular-season and postseason games in his Bengals career, and last season he gained an increased role on defense, starting four games and logging 28 tackles, two interceptions and five total passes defensed. On Nov. 1 at Pittsburgh, he made one of the significant plays of the team’s 12-4 AFC North championship season, a game-changing interception against Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter. It set up a 45-yard TD drive that erased a 10-6 Steelers lead, putting the Bengals ahead to stay en route to a 16-10 win. “Shawn is one of our bright, young players, and we’re excited to have him as part of the team moving forward,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “He has been a physical player, and he has increased his value as a playmaker on the ball. This is just one more part of our plan, which is to draft the right players, develop them and retain them.” Williams played 68 percent of the defensive snaps in last season’s Wild Card playoff game, ranking tied for third in tackles (five) and adding a pass defensed. Over 2013-14, Williams’ 23 special teams tackles ranked second on the team behind Cedric Peerman, the club’s 2015 season Pro Bowl special teamer. “We see Shawn as an ascending player,” said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. “He’s smart, he’s tough, and he’s not limited in his role. He can do a lot of things well.” Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.