Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, and after racking up 13 sacks for the No. 1 seed in the AFC while also earning his first Pro Bowl nod, Ford looks primed to cash in.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that Kansas City is leaning against using the franchise tag on the 2014 first-round pick, which will only help Ford’s earning potential, especially given that the free agent market is largely bereft of game-changing pass rushers. After a 10-sack campaign in 2016 that suggested he was ready to start living up to his draft status, Ford’s 2017 season was cut short due to a back injury, and he may have only been with the Chiefs this season because his fifth-year option that was guaranteed for injury would have vested if he were unable to pass a physical last March, meaning the team would have had to pay him even if it cut him.
But it all worked out for Kansas City and Ford, who finished this season as Pro Football Focus’ eighth-best edge defender. His 77 quarterback pressures was the best mark among all of those players.
The Chiefs are projected to have a fair amount of cap space, but as of right now it appears they are unwilling to tag Ford, who would earn just shy of $15MM if he were to play out the 2019 season under the tag. That is not to say, however, that Kansas City is unwilling to talk contract with him, which would be quite surprising.
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