The San Francisco 49ers will be looking for pass rush help in free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft, but the trade market might have an option. The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to place the franchise tag on edge rusher Dee Ford, and now they are shopping Justin Houston, according to reports.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach acknowledged the rumors in his Thursday press conference at the NFL Combine. He would not get into specifics, but did say that with all 32 teams present, it provides an opportunity to, “collect information and working with what we have and kind of leave here and get together again and discuss and see what we can do to make our team better.”
Houston is signed through 2020, and is due to make $15.25 million this year and $17 million next season. Kansas City currently has $27.4 million in cap space, and they will likely look to make some room for franchising Ford. The franchise tag for defensive ends is $18,653,000, which would fit in there, but would prevent the Chiefs from being particularly active otherwise.
The 49ers need help on the edge, but Houston’s price is tough to figure out. He only had nine sacks this past season, after 9.5 the season before. However, he ranked eighth in Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity stat a year after ranking 28th. He turned 30 in January, and has not played a full 16 game regular season slate since 2014. That season he had 22 sacks, absolutely rampaging opposing offensive lines. He has 30 total sacks in the four seasons since.