The Cincinnati Bengals signed safety Shawn Williams to a four-year extension that runs through the 2020 season. Williams, who is expected to take over a starting job with Reggie Nelson leaving as a free agent, was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract.
The Bengals also signed the fifth of their seven picks in the 2016 NFL Draft,
coming to terms with fifth-round guard Christian Westerman on Tuesday.
A third-round pick out of Georgia in the 2013 NFL Draft, Williams has played in 51 career games, including the playoffs. He started four games last season while recording 28 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defensed. He also played in 68 percent of the defensive snaps in Cincinnati's Wild Card playoff game.
"Shawn is one of our bright, young players, and we're excited to have him as part of the team moving forward," said Bengals 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 is slated to emerge as a starter in a safety depth chart that includes strong safety George Iloka, Derron Smith and rookie Clayton Fejedelem. He also finished second on the team with 23 special teams tackles last season.
"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."
Westerman started at left guard the past two seasons at Arizona State. He joins previously signed second-round wide receiver Tyler Boyd, third-round linebacker Nick Vigil, sixth-round wide receiver Cody Core and seventh-round safety Clayton Fejedelem.
Still unsigned from the 2016 draft class are first-round cornerback William Jackson III and fourth-round nose tackle Andrew Billings.