The Broncos have decided not to exercise Williams' fifth-year option, the Denver Post reports. The move isn't a total surprise given the cap gymnastics general manager John Elway will have to go through in the coming years to keep more prominent players in Denver. Williams contributed three sacks to the Broncos' 2015 pass rush as he put together his best season under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and line coach Bill Kollar. If he takes another step, Williams could still see a payday in 2017. If not, 2015 sixth-rounder Darius Kilgo and reclamation project Phil Taylor could emerge.
The starting nose tackle position is open for the Broncos. But Sylvester Williams has apparently taken the lead in that battle. Williams knows the territory. He started 13 of 16 games a year ago. He finished with 17 tackles and four assists. "It's exciting because going into the offseason for the first time I'm pretty much a sure starter," he told 9News. "My coaches have shown a lot of confidence in me and given me the opportunities that I need, so it's up to me to take advantage of those opportunities." Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips certainly isn't complaining. "I think 'Sly' has done an exceptional job," he said. "I feel real good about him. ... I think he's really taken over the nose guard position."
Broncos third-year defensive lineman Sylvester Williams has much to prove heading into the 2015 season. He must show he can play nose tackle and that he can fill the void left by the departure of Terrance Knighton. Williams has been working toward accomplishing those goals. He stayed in the area during the offseason to better his game and remain in peak shape. He has emphasized diet and shedding body fat as well as film study in an attempt to learn of areas in his game that require improvement. "I already went into this offseason with a lot of motivation from within," he told the Denver Post. "I put a lot on myself to get stronger this year and come back with a better year." Williams started 13 games last year and contributed to 21 tackles.
With free agency approaching for defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Broncos general manager John Elway spoke highly of Sylvester Williams -- Knighton's possible replacement -- during Thursday's combine press conference, per the Denver Post. "We still like Sylvester, we think there's still a lot of potential there, and we are not sure that he has scratched it yet. If there's any guy that can get it out of our players it's our new defensive line coach Bill Kollar," Elway said. "So Sylvester is going to get tested, and will get pushed. And I think it will be a good thing for Sylvester." Williams, a first-round draft pick in 2013, registered 21 tackles (17 solo) last season for the Broncos. He had two sacks his rookie year.
Broncos defensive linemen Shaun Phillips and Sylvester Williams were the only players able to get the quarterback Thursday, in a 27-20 loss to the Chargers in Week 15. Phillips had two tackles to go along with his sack, while, Williams added five stops. Williams' sack was the first of his career, while Phillips' was his 10th of the season.