No. 4: EDGE Alfred Williams
Signed in 1995
What makes the No. 4 player on this list of worst 49ers free-agent signings isn’t exactly the contract details (those are elusive), but rather what EDGE Alfred Williams did both before and after his tenure in San Francisco.
Following four productive years with the Cincinnati Bengals, which included 26.5 sacks and 9.5 the year before, the Niners hoped Williams could bolster their pass rush after coming off their fifth Super Bowl championship the year before.
That was the idea, at least.
Williams managed a mere 4.5 sacks with the 49ers and just 28 tackles in a situational pass-rushing role, starting just one game after being a regular starter over the majority of his career up to that point.
The Denver Broncos grabbed Williams after his one-and-done year with the Niners. With his new team, Williams went on to post 13.0 sacks in 1996 en route to both a Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro nod that year.
He’d also wind up winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the Broncos in 1997 and 1998.
Maybe this was a case of the 49ers simply not utilizing Williams properly. Either way, this pickup was a bust for the red and gold.