The contract details for San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Dee Ford are finally in after he restructured his contract for the third time last Monday. Per Over the Cap, Ford’s new deal saves the 49ers roughly $11.2 million in cap space for this upcoming season. Ford’s new deal doesn’t run through 2023. Instead, his contract voids after the 2022 regular season.
Ford’s 2021 cap hit goes from just north of $20 million to a modest $8.9 million. San Francisco is paying Ford a base salary of $4 million while spreading his signing bonus of $4.9 million out over three years, which is yet another way to manipulate the salary cap.
This upcoming season will be the only year that Ford has any guaranteed salary remaining on his contract. In 2022, his base salary will be $2.4 million, with a roster bonus of $4.6 million. With the addition of Ford’s prorated bonus, that makes his cap number $11.9 million in 2022 at the age of 31.
There have been several changes to Ford’s contract. This most recent renegotiation reduced Ford’s guaranteed salary from $16 million, fully guaranteed to $7 million. As mentioned above, Ford still has an injury guarantee that’s $4.6 million that he’ll earn if on the roster in 2022.
That’s essentially the only holdover from Ford’s previous contract. This new contract gives the 49ers $20.2 million in cap space. This means the team shouldn’t have to restructure anybody else on the roster. Ford could earn $10 million more in incentives through playing time and if he hits certain performance goals in his contract.
The Athletic reported that Ford has been rehabbing at the Niners facility, and he’s resumed running. This is Ford’s last chance to prove himself. We won’t know until minicamp/training camp if Ford has made a full recovery, but if the Niners don’t address a pass rusher in this upcoming NFL Draft, that will signal their confidence in Ford’s recovery.
The 49ers' base defense would likely mean Ford starts opposite Nick Bosa, while Samson Ebukam lines up at SAM linebacker. Health will determine a lot for the Niners this upcoming season. We’ve all been operating as if Ford won’t step onto the field again for the 49ers. That doesn’t appear to be the case, which gives San Francisco even more freedom heading into the NFL Draft.