The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade outside linebacker Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported on Tuesday. The Chiefs placed a franchise tag on Ford earlier this month, but that was no guarantee the 27-year-old would stay in Kansas City.
Whether it was setting a career high with 13 sacks or simply helping the Chiefs finish with the best record in the AFC during the regular season, Ford has made quite the name for himself on the defensive side of the football. The 49ers defense ranked No. 22 in sacks this past season, bringing down opposing quarterbacks just 37 combined times.
The overall point is that this Ford trade gives the team a lot more flexibility in the draft, takes some pressure off general manager John Lynch and opens the window for a lot more win-win situations for the team.
Around this time a year ago, San Francisco was considered one of the sleeper teams expected to make a serious leap in the NFC to become a serious playoff contender.
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Trading Ford frees up about $15.4 million in cap space. The two teams are close to finalizing a deal. In five seasons in KC, Ford had 30.5 sacks and 136 total tackles.
The 49ers also use a 4-3 defense, and it isn't clear where they plan to play Ford. During the 2018 season, coach Kyle Shanahan compared the importance of an edge rusher to the defense to that of a quarterback on offense. The 49ers don't have "Leo" or "Sam" monikers for defensive ends in those groupings.
Armed with the No. 2 pick in April's draft, the Niners could still be in prime position to land another difference-making edge rusher such as Ohio State's Nick Bosa. If they have another disappointing season in 2019, this could become a high draft pick for K.C. That draft choice would likely end up playing on the opposite side of Ford as a defensive end in sub packages. Generating more sacks and turnovers could go a long way in the standings. Ford has racked up double-digit sacks in two of his past three seasons.