Dee Ford

Chiefs Rumors: Mahomes, Rogers, Ford, OL

Being a first-year starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes will bring some risk to the Chiefs‘ outlook Alex Smith did not. But the potential reward looks to be much greater. Andy Reid acknowledges the 2017 first-round pick will experience the usual issues adjusting to NFL starter life, but the sixth-year Chiefs coach made it clear he doesn’t want to deprive Mahomes of playmaking opportunities his skill set could create.

You surely don’t want to stifle that at all. One thing that he is blessed with is he has good vision, so you don’t ever want to stifle that and put him in a box with that. Allow him to see,” Reid said from Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph, Mo. “Is there going to be a hiccup here or there? Yeah there’s going to be a hiccup here or there, but you don’t want to stifle that at all.”

Reid added that Mahomes, viewed as a raw but potentially special arm talent out of Texas Tech as a prospect last year, is farther along this year compared to where Smith was in 2013. With the addition of Sammy Watkins, the Chiefs have also outfitted Mahomes with a better collection of skill-position talent than Smith (or possibly any previous Kansas City quarterback) received.

Here’s the latest out of western Missouri:

  • While the Chiefs’ offense looks capable of being one of the NFL’s best units, Kansas City’s defense has plenty of questions. A key one will be the status of their injury-prone edge rushers. Justin Houston enters camp healthy and is signed long-term, but Dee Ford may only be back because an injury left him unable to pass a March physical. His $8.718MM fifth-year option vested, but Ford realizes he’s under pressure to perform this season after a career that’s seen just one productive year (2016, when he had a Chiefs-most 10 sacks). The Chiefs also drafted edge defenders in each of the past two second rounds, in Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks (the latter of whom K.C. traded up to acquire). “Everyone’s seen flashes of what I can do. This is the opportunity to really (show it) for 16 games,” Ford said, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “In order to be a great player you have to be consistent. You can’t just be good (like 2016 in) those first 10 games or so before I got hurt. Everybody was like, ‘That’s the guy we expected,’ and then I got hurt. … This is the time to put it all together.”
  • Eli Rogers left his Chiefs visit Monday without a deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Rogers will now meet with the Browns, who have his three-year OC on staff in Todd Haley. The Raiders have also scheduled a summit with the slot receiver. Behind Watkins and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs employ Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson and the recently re-signed De’Anthony Thomas.
  • Despite a 2016 ACL tear hijacking both of Parker Ehinger‘s first two NFL seasons, he still might be the frontrunner to work as the Chiefs’ starting left guard, Nate Taylor of The Athletic writes (subscription required). A fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati two years ago, Ehinger opened his rookie year as a starter but missed all but one game last season. Bryan Witzmann and Jordan Devey represent his primary competitors, per Taylor, who adds that Cameron Erving could linger here as well if he cannot unseat fourth-year center Mitch Morse.
  • Like Ford, Spencer Ware‘s been cleared to begin training camp without a PUP list stay, but the 2016 starter won’t automatically be given the backup job, per Taylor. Charcandrick West remains a factor and scored four touchdowns as Kareem Hunt‘s backup last season. West and Ware will battle for the backup role, just as they did in 2015 when they vied for time behind a then-healthy Jamaal Charles.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Mack, Chiefs

Tony Sparano changed the Raiders‘ culture during his time in Oakland, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes. Sparano, who died unexpectedly over the weekend, didn’t win when he was at the helm of the Raiders, but he earned the respect of his players through his hard work and love of the game.

He is up close and personal and blunt,” defensive end Justin Tuck once said. “He treats like you a man. I like his coaching style. … He is honest. There is no B.S. with Coach Sparano.”

Sparano worked for nine NFL teams in 19 seasons and he touched innumerable lives during his years on the sidelines. Success is largely measured by wins and losses in football, but Sparano achieved a great deal even when the record of his team did not show it.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • There’s reason to believe that Khalil Mack could take an aggressive approach towards his negotiations with the Raiders, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets. Corry notes that Mack is represented by Joel Segal, who represented running back Chris Johnson‘s during his holdout with the Titans in 2011. If Mack has the same resolve as Johnson, the Raiders may not see him until he gets a new deal. For reference, Johnson’s holdout in 2011 was not resolved until early September.
  • Good news for the Chiefs. Center Mitch Morse, linebacker Dee Ford, and running back Spencer Ware are expected to practice with the team and will not go on the PUP list to start camp (via the Associated Press). “All those guys, everybody else is good,” head coach Andy Reid said. “Again I just want to see on the field and we’ll kind of monitor as it goes but, yeah, they all should be ready to go.”
  • Broncos linebacker Shane Ray received some unexpected good news this week. He won’t have to undergo another wrist surgery and the team believes that he is not in danger of missing games.
  • Earl Thomas to the Chargers? Don’t bet on it.

West Notes: Sherman, Chiefs, Raiders, 49ers

The Seahawks dangled cornerback Richard Sherman in trade talks at this time a year ago, but given that he’s currently unable to pass a physical after undergoing another procedure on his torn Achilles, Sherman won’t be dealt any time soon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Injured players can’t be traded, and Sherman likely won’t be healthy until training camp. In 2017, Seattle ultimately dropped its asking price for Sherman to a first-round and a mid-round selection, but no deal was ever made. While Sherman may not hit the trade market any time soon, the Seahawks are reportedly shopping veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

  • The Chiefs will retain edge rusher Dee Ford on his 2018 fifth-year option, but given that he’s still recovering from a back injury, they likely didn’t have a choice, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Fifth-year options are guaranteed for injury only, so Ford — like Blake Bortles in Jacksonville — would have earned his money whether he was on Kansas City’s roster or not, provided he couldn’t pass a physical before the new league year begins on March 14. Ford, 26, only managed to appear in six games last season, but he managed 10 sacks as recently as 2016. He’ll earn an $8.718MM base salary for the upcoming year.
  • Marshawn Lynch is not a lock to make the Raiders‘ 2018 roster, and for what it’s worth, the veteran running back reportedly became a “problem” for Oakland’s previous coaching staff in 2017, reports Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Lynch, who got better from an on-field perspective as last season progressed, is scheduled to earn a $4MM base salary next year, and also has a $1MM roster bonus due by March 3, so the Raiders will likely decide on his future with the club by the weekend.
  • After blocking him from an interview with the Titans earlier this year, the 49ers have promoted DeMeco Ryans from defensive quality coach to inside linebackers coach, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Ryans, who enjoyed a decade-long playing career, is well-respected in NFL circles, and 49ers DC Robert Saleh recently claimed Ryans will someday become a head coach. Additionally, San Francisco announced that it has promoted Keena Turner to vice President and senior advisor to the general manager and promoted Ethan Waugh to college scouting director.

Chiefs Place Dee Ford On IR

Dee Ford‘s back injury has become serious enough the Chiefs placed the outside linebacker on IR.

The team announced the move and the signing of Eagles practice squad cog Justin Hamilton, a defensive tackle, to the 53-man roster.

Ford had missed the past four Chiefs games with the back ailment. He is signed through the 2018 season via fifth-year option. The Chiefs exercised Ford’s guaranteed-against-injury option of $8.72MM back in May. However, Ford did not have the kind of year he did when he broke out in 2016. He will finish his season with just two sacks and six games played. The 2014 first-round pick registered 10 last season, emerging after two years largely spent sitting behind Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

Kansas City’s plan was to have Hali rotate in behind Houston and Ford this season, but Ford’s injury prevented this. No. 4 pass rusher Frank Zombo has been forced into extensive action.

The Chiefs have missed Ford’s presence during their losing streak, one that has them at 6-6 after a 5-0 start. Kansas City will already be without Marcus Peters in Week 14 due to a team-imposed suspension, and Hali missed last week’s game with a knee injury. However, he’s expected to play against the Raiders.

Hamilton played in three games for the Eagles this season, the UDFA’s rookie campaign. Hamilton has bounced around the league since entering in 2015 as a Bills UDFA. He’s also spent time with the Packers and Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Grimes, Gordon, Hali, Ford, Stanley, Pats Injuries

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

Beasley explains that the front office decided to move on from the veteran cornerback because his age, salary, 2015 performance and even his wife’s antics, but in hindsight the team misses Grimes’ steady contributions. The 34 year-old corner will face his former team for the first time since they let him walk this Sunday. Since his release, the Dolphins have failed to rectify the position with the likes of Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. While Howard and Tankersley are still young, both aren’t guys you can lean on during a playoff run. In comparison, Grimes has played more like a middle of the pack corner this season , grading out as the 60th best corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, in Beasley’s opinion the way the team has handled their defensive back situation has been a dud all around over the past few years.

  • Josh Gordon is back at the Browns practice facility and he has made a positive impression on head coach Hue Jackson, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Ulrich passes along that the second-year Cleveland head coach has stated that the wideout has been “involved” and is a “pleasure to be around”. The Browns reporter also states that Jackson expects the talented reciever to be back on the practice field on November 20. Still just 26 years old, Gordon last played for the team in 2014, and has since been suspended from the league for multiple drug violations. The former high supplemental draft pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, so he needs to make the most of every opportunity to impress the coaching staff if he wants a real chance to continue his playing career.
  • The Chiefs will be without two key pass rushers when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants this Sunday. Both Dee Ford and Tamba Hali have been ruled out for the contest, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This is particularly interesting development in the case of Hali because the team took the cautious approach to resting him by putting him on the PUP before the start of the regular season. However, he remains on the sideline despite being placed back on the active roster. Kansas City will lean on Frank Zombo with these pass rush specialists unavailable. Getting to the quarterback has been an issue for the team, as the Chiefs currently rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks, racking up just a combined 19.0 through ten weeks.
  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.
  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.

 

West Notes: Garoppolo, Chiefs, Raiders

Even with the trade deadline being one of the most active in years, whenever a quarterback gets traded, that deal takes center stage. After years of will they or won’t they, the Patriots finally gave in and dealt backup Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second round pick a few months before the signal caller was about to hit free agency. Now given some time to digest the move, NFL coaches and execs are starting to express their thoughts. Albert Breer of the MMQB, has relayed some of those opinions from anonymous personnel throughout the league in his column yesterday. The overall sentiment from the coaches and front office members from the article loved the deal for the 49ers given Garoppolo’s talent and the general lack of starting caliber QB’s throughout the league. But there was also a general understanding about the Patriots rationale for making the move given how unlikely it was they were going to use the franchise tag on their backup QB. Obviously it’s far too early to declare winners and losers, but the opinions from actual NFL coaches and front office people are definitely worth the read.

  • The Chiefs will be without some solid contributors in linebacker Dee Ford and wideout Albert Wilson on Sunday, reports Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star. Wilson is currently the second leading wide receiver in terms of catches and yards, while Ford racked up 13 combined tackles and 2.0 sacks. Kerkhoff also notes that pass rush specialist Tamba Hali‘s status was a little more up in the air according to head coach Andy Reid“He’s literally just knocking the rust off,” Reid said. “We’re literally taking it day by day and seeing; let’s just see what happens.” The veteran just started practicing this week after just being activated from the PUP list yesterday.
  • Another AFC West team is dealing with the injury bug, particularly to the secondary. The Raiders will be without defensive backs David Amerson, Gareon Conley and Demetrius McCray this Sunday, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. However, he does also point out that the team will get some much needed help as rookie safety Obi Melifonwu is set to make his NFL debut after being activated from the injured reserve this week. Oakland’s pass defense has been a weakness all year and they’ll be searching for answers in new places when they take on the Dolphins in Week 9.
  • In off the field Raiders news, it was announced today that the target date for the completion of the team’s Vegas Stadium will be July 31, 2020, according to Steve Sisolak, who is a candidate for Nevada Governor (Twitter link).

 

 

West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.

Chiefs Exercise Dee Ford’s Option

Chiefs announce they have exercised the fifth-year option on Dee Ford. The outside linebacker will be under team control through 2018. Dee Ford (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

Ford was selected No. 23 overall in 2014 after being named First-Team All-SEC at Auburn and garnering MVP awards at the Senior Bowl. Ford didn’t do much in his first two seasons, but he broke out last year as Justin Houston missed the majority of the season. In 15 games (14 starts), Ford racked up 38 total tackles and 10 sacks.

Per the rules of the fifth-year option for first round picks, Ford’s 2018 season will be guaranteed for injury only. If he remains on the roster, he’ll earn $8.718MM in that season. For 2017, he’s slated to carry a $2.596MM cap figure.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Bills, Henry, Ford

Here’s the latest from around the league, beginning with two Southern California training camp teams who aren’t jumping at the chance to reconvene for joint practices.

  • Despite the teams now training near Los Angeles, Cowboys and Rams aren’t planning to partake in another training camp scrimmage due to the brawl that occurred last year when the teams had joint practices in Oxnard, Calif., Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The Rams will be training at UC-Irvine this year, but Jason Garrett hasn’t engaged in any discussions on bringing the teams together again.
  • The Bills expect clarity on Percy Harvin‘s health status in the ensuing two weeks, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports. Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan are open to the UFA returning despite Buffalo’s $6.9MM left in cap space. Harvin, whose troublesome hip issues ended up sidelining him for the season last November, would have to compete with newly signed Leonard Hankerson and players like Olympic long jump hopeful Marquise Goodwin for the Bills’ No. 3 receiver spot, however, and do so having missed 36 games over the past four seasons.
  • An NFC personnel man rates Arkansas’ Hunter Henry as the most complete tight end to be available in the draft in a long time, Mark Eckel of NJ.com reports. The unidentified evaluator sees Henry as a fit with the Jets, whose tight ends caught just eight passes last season after Jace Amaro missed the year with an injury. “I never liked Amaro,” the personnel man told Eckel. “(Hunter) is tons better than Amaro. Where do I see him going? That’s a tough question. (No. 20) might be a little soon, but he’s a first rounder. He’s definitely a first-rounder.”
  • Dee Ford figures to have a bigger role with the Chiefs in his third season. How much bigger will likely be determined by Justin Houston‘s health. John Dorsey and Andy Reid saw flashes of brilliance, per Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, with Reid saying one of last season’s takeaways was finding out that Ford was “a pretty good football player.” The player who would be opposite Ford in a Houston-less look, Tamba Hali, believes the third-year player — who has been mostly buried behind Houston and Hali in his two seasons — needs to develop further mentally. “If I had to speak for him, I would like for him to take the next step in being a professional … basically (the reason) why they drafted him here is to take over the (starting) role. The season’s too long for me to focus on being a starter or a backup,” Hali said. “I think he’s in the position where he can kind of take the torch and go forward. That’s really mental; physically, the kid is gifted and he has it. But mentally we have to just make sure that he understands why we’re in this building and what needs to be done while we’re here.”
  • Former Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been handed a nine-month sentence in his animal cruelty case, as Pat Warren of CBS Baltimore writes. Cody was found guilty of negligence in the death of his canary mastiff who was starved to death. However, he was not found guilty of felony animal abuse because the court did not find his actions intentional, according to his lawyer. PETA issued a statement following the sentencing and implored the NFL to do more to combat animal abuse amongst its players.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Chiefs Sign First-Rounder Dee Ford

2:11pm: Ford’s deal includes a $4.25MM signing bonus and is worth $8.16MM, reports Aaron Wilson of National Football Post (via Twitter).

1:17pm: The Kansas City Chiefs announced via Twitter they have signed former Auburn defensive end and first-round pick Dee Ford.

Ford was selected No. 23 overall after being named First-team All-SEC at Auburn and garnering MVP awards at the 2014 Senior Bowl. With edge rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston already in the fold, the Chiefs are taking the adage, “You can never have too many pass rushers,” very seriously.