Sources: Chiefs tagging Ford, will listen to offers
The Kansas City Chiefs are placing their franchise tag on linebacker Dee Ford and plan to have him in their lineup this season, but with the change to a 4-3 defensive scheme, they will listen to trade offers for him, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Chiefs intend to switch their base defensive scheme to a 4-3 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, which likely would mean a move to defensive end for Ford, who played that position in college before moving to linebacker for Kansas City.
The one-year franchise tender for linebackers is expected to be about $15.8 million, although an exact amount has yet to be set. Ford made about $8.7 million last season after the Chiefs exercised the fifth-year option of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2014.
Ford, who will turn 28 on March 19, finally became the player in 2018 that the Chiefs envisioned when they drafted him in the first round out of Auburn. He started all 16 games for the first time in his career and had a career-high 13 sacks. He also was selected to play in the Pro Bowl for the first time.
He said late in the regular season that he would sign the one-year franchise tender if selected, calling the decision a “no-brainer.” And the team’s decision to do so didn’t come as a surprise.
“When we drafted Dee a few years ago, all those things that we envisioned for him, he kind of showed that he was that player,” general manager Brett Veach said recently.
“We are excited about bringing him back.”
In his first four seasons, Ford had a total of 17.5 sacks — 10 of which came during a nine-game stretch in 2016. Otherwise, until 2018, Ford had 7.5 sacks to show for his other 42 games.
Ford ended his best season with his least productive game. He had no sacks or tackles in the AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots, and he was penalized for lining up offside on a play that negated an interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
The interception could have allowed the Chiefs, who had a four-point lead at the time, to run out the clock. Instead, the Patriots continued their drive to a go-ahead touchdown and eventually won in overtime.
Information from ESPN’s Adam Teicher was used in this report.