When the 49ers traded a second-round pick to the Chiefs to acquire Dee Ford (and gave him a fat new contract), they sent a message to the rest of the league that they were going for it. Jimmy Garoppolo was coming back, and the 49ers were ready to make a Super Bowl run. Now that Ford’s time with the team is over, Javier Vega and Leo Luna asked, was it worth it?
Other than quarterbacks, elite pass rushers are the most difficult asset to acquire. Unless you pick at the top of the draft, it’s almost impossible to get one. But, make no mistake; when the 49ers acquired Dee Ford, he was elite. In 2018, Ford had seven forced fumbles, 13 sacks, 55 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 29 QB hits in 16 games. That is absurd.
As Javier and Leo pointed out on today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, the 49ers desperately needed to improve their exterior pass rush. In 2018, Cassius Marsh led the team with 5.5 sacks off the edge. The thinking was correct, but the execution could have been better. The warning signs were always there.
“The biggest red flag was Andy Reid. Andy Reid was willing to give this guy away for a second-round pick,” Vega said, “To me, that was the biggest red flag when they did it. Did I like the trade? Yeah, but I had questions. Guys like Bill Belichick and Andy Reid, if they’re willing to give a guy away, you might want to check out that stuff.”
“It’s not like the Chiefs couldn’t afford Dee Ford,” Luna said, “In fact, they actually gave up draft capital to sign and pay Frank Clark. What bigger red flag can you get? At that time, the narrative around it was, ‘Oh, we’re transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3. That’s the reason we’re looking to trade Dee Ford.’ The 49ers played a damn 4-3, so the Chiefs’ reasoning of wanting to get rid of him had no effect on you. You just took the bait. It should have been a red flag. The Chiefs wanted to pay this guy with character concerns and give up draft capital in Frank Clark instead of paying Dee Ford after a career year.”
Ultimately, Ford will be paid more than $40 million for 378 snaps, 10 QB hits, and 10.5 regular season and playoff sacks in three seasons with the 49ers. That said, he was impactful during both the regular and the postseason during the team’s Super Bowl run in 2019. Truth be told, Kyle Shanahan has been searching for someone to replace that production ever since. They tried last year with Samson Ebukam in free agency, and they tried again this year by drafting Drake Jackson in the second round.
What do you think? Was Dee Ford ultimately worth the tens of millions the 49ers paid him? Listen to the whole show to decide for yourself, and leave us a comment below to let us know!