It sounds like Dee Ford isn’t going anywhere. Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star reports that the Chiefs are expected to put the franchise tag on Ford, which is in keeping with GM Brett Veach‘s comments several weeks ago. At that time, Veach praised Ford’s season and indicated that he’ll return in 2019, saying simply, “[w]e’re excited to bring him back.”
There had been conflicting reports on whether the Chiefs are open to tagging the 27-year-old (28 in March), but the tag is a sensible solution since the Chiefs seem unwilling to let him walk. With the tag, the Chiefs can earmark Ford on a one-year, $15MM+ deal, then negotiate an extension up until the summer deadline.
For his part, Ford is open to the tag.
“That’s out of my control,” Ford said recently. “If it happens, it happens, and I don’t mind it.”
The 27-year-old made his first Pro Bowl this season after finishing with career-highs in tackles (55), sacks (13), and forced fumbles (league-leading seven). The 2014 first-rounder had previously shown signs of stardom, including a 2016 campaign when he compiled ten sacks. However, Ford truly established himself as one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL in 2018; Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 11th among 103 eligible edge defenders.
Ford was stellar for a Chiefs defense that lacked consistency throughout the year. His ill-timed neutral zone infraction in the AFC Championship Game may have cost them a chance at the Super Bowl, but he still profiles as one of the best edge defenders in the league. In 2018, Pro Football Focus ranked Ford as the No. 11 edge rusher in the NFL, putting him ahead of notables such as Olivier Vernon, Justin Houston, and Cameron Wake.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.