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Free agent wishlist: Poona Ford could fill the void left by D.J. Jones

Adding interior help would take pressure off Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

With free agency right around the corner, the 49ers are hard at work scoping out the group of players who are set to hit the open market. One player who they absolutely should have their eyes on is defensive tackle Poona Ford, who has been a member of the Seahawks since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Ford is right in his prime at just 27 years old and would give the 49ers defensive front a huge boost both as a pass rusher and against the run. At 5’11 310 pounds, Ford has a very comparable build to DJ Jones, a player whose absence the 49ers felt in a major way this past season.

Like Jones, Ford is an exceptional athlete with tremendous lateral agility that creates a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. Ford also has a great ability to shed blocks and slip into gaps, wreaking havoc on opposing rushing attacks trying to run in his direction.

Seattle’s run defense was porous this past season, so because of recency bias, it’s easy to overlook just how disruptive Ford can be. But when you isolate Ford and break down the tape, you see plays like this flash time and time again.

Ford also has tremendous upside at the position as a pass rusher, recording over twenty pressures in each of the last three seasons. Here are a couple of cutups that highlight the way Ford can win on the inside and get after opposing quarterbacks.

The first is a combination of a stab lift and a swim move which Ford uses to beat the right guard and get pressure on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, which makes him get the ball out early and leads to an incompletion.

The second is going to start with the same stab/forklift, but this time Ford goes to a rip move and can win the edge against the right guard and bring Carr down for a sack.

Ford does it all, and the added bonus of coming to the 49ers is that he not only improves them, his departure from Seattle also weakens a divisional opponent that San Francisco has to face twice every season. Scheme wise, this makes all the sense in the world, the only real concern is how much it will cost to attain Ford’s services.

Ford is coming off a two-year 12 million dollar deal and Spotrac currently has his market value listed just over 9 million dollars. That might be a bit too rich for the 49ers given the amount of cap space they have at the moment, but a bit of financial maneuvering and strong negotiating on the team's part could make a move like this come to fruition.

It would be hard to see the 49ers signing Ford to close to what Jones got in Denver after they allowed the latter to walk just last offseason. On the flip side, perhaps they learned their lesson, and realized how valuable a player with Jones skill set could be.

Perhaps bringing in a guy like Ford is an omission and an attempt to fix a move in letting Jones go that is extremely difficult to spin as a positive in the moment in time. Ford is a great player, in the prime of his career, and you would be able to pluck him away from the biggest threat to your teams' supremacy in the NFC West. Ge