Dee Ford

NFC West Notes: Kendricks, Williams, 49ers

Mychal Kendricks‘ sentencing date keeps getting postponed, and the Seahawks keep reaping the rewards. Per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com, Kendricks is now due to be sentenced for insider trading — which he pleaded guilty to in September 2018 — in February 2020 (Twitter link). The date has been pushed back five times now, and instead of losing Kendricks on November 21 (the most recent date), Seattle will have their starting weakside ‘backer for its playoff run.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • The Cardinals signed tight end Maxx Williams to a modest one-year, $805K pact this offseason, but they have been impressed enough with his performance — especially as a pass blocker — to sign him to an extension several days ago. And he will get a sizable raise, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the two-year pact, which keeps Williams in the desert through 2021, is worth $7MM (Twitter link).
  • 49ers CB Jason Verrett and DL Kentavius Street are both getting healthier and are candidates to come off of IR at some point this season, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (citing head coach Kyle Shanahan) tweets. Both players have had difficult injury luck in their careers, so this is encouraging news, and San Francisco would surely love to have Verrett and Street as depth for the stretch run.
  • The news is not as good for 49ers rookie WR Jalen Hurd, as Shanahan says it’s unlikely Hurd will be ready to come off of IR this year (Twitter link via Maiocco).
  • The 49ers are also planning on being without DE Dee Ford for a couple of weeks, per Maiocco (via Twitter). Injuries have limited Ford during his first year in San Francisco, though he has managed to post 6.5 sacks. Ford is currently dealing with a hamstring injury.

NFC West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Johnson

Todd Gurley has made it through five games without a knee-related absence this season, which could be considered a victory based on the suspicion surrounding the Rams running back this offseason. But the two-time first-team All-Pro has encountered a quadriceps issue and is “up in the air” for Week 6, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Rams initially viewed this as a minor malady, but Gurley is not a lock to suit up against the 49ers. The fifth-year running back has been productive but a cut off his All-Pro form this season. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and, with 338 scrimmage yards, is well off the pace of his past two slates. It would not surprise if the Rams exercised caution here and turned their Week 6 backfield reins over to Malcolm Brown.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The knee and quad injuries Dee Ford suffered early in his 49ers stay have limited his workloads this season. Ford has played just 33 snaps over the past two games and has not gone through a healthy performer’s practice work. The 49ers holding Ford out of Wednesday and Thursday practices throughout the season would not be a surprise, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The trade acquisition still rates as a top-20 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, but has played just 97 snaps this season.
  • After injury trouble and role changes, Arik Armstead entered this season with an uncertain future. But his first four games of a contract year have helped change his status, and John Lynch now indicates the fifth-year defensive lineman will be a sought-after commodity if he reaches the 2020 open market. “What Arik needs to do is keep on playing at that level and he’s going to make his life really easy because a lot of people are going to coveting him, along with us,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. The 2015 first-round pick arrived during Jim Tomsula‘s one-year stay and missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But Armstead bounced back to play 18 in 2018 and grades as PFF’s No. 14 edge defender through four games. The 49ers have DeForest Buckner extension talks on tap for 2020; they may have to consider the franchise tag for Armstead.
  • An unorthodox Trent Williams destination: the NFC’s Los Angeles team. While other teams have much bigger offensive line needs, Sean McVay coached Williams in Washington. The Redskins also moved the longtime left tackle to guard for a 2018 game. That would be where Williams would play if the Rams traded for him, with Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein entrenched at tackle. The Rams remain confident in left guard Joseph Noteboom, but Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team desires immediate improvement up front. PFF grades Noteboom as its fifth-worst full-time guard.
  • While Gurley may miss Week 6, David Johnson is also in danger of a Sunday absence. The Cardinals running back is dealing with a back injury and has missed two practices this week. A 2018 fourth-round pick out of Fordham, Chase Edmonds will start if Johnson cannot go. Johnson has not missed a game since a wrist injury sidelined him for 15 2017 contests.

NFC West Rumors: Polite, 49ers, Cardinals

Jachai Polite became the only 2019 third-round pick to be booted from a roster after cutdown weekend, but the Jets Day 2 selection found his way to the Seahawks‘ practice squad. Pete Carroll said the Seahawks placed a late-first- or early-second-round grade on the Florida product, per ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. Polite will have a chance to develop in Seattle, doing so behind Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and first-round pick L.J. Collier — none of whom were part of the 2018 Seahawks.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • While some of the 49ers‘ injury troubles are here to stay, with Jerick McKinnon on season-ending IR again, the team received good news on other key cogs. Nick Bosa returned to practice this week and is improving daily, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). Jason Verrett joined Bosa in going through a limited Wednesday practice. Dee Ford was not listed as limited. Despite John Lynch at one point being 50-50 on Bosa’s Week 1 availability, it appears much of the concern around these San Francisco’s newcomers was overblown. Though, Bosa’s spate of setbacks over the past year have, fairly or unfairly, attached an “injury prone” label to the Ohio State product for the time being.
  • The Cardinals were the only team to submit a waiver claim for offensive lineman Brett Toth, Barrows adds. The U.S. Army cleared Toth on Wednesday morning to pursue a career with the Cardinals, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Prior to signing with the Eagles midway through last month, Toth had not participated in a practice in 18 months. Under the previous guidelines, Toth would have been locked into his service requirement. However, he’ll be able to put all of that on hold as he pursues his NFL dream.
  • With the Cardinals cutting 2017 fifth-rounder T.J. Logan and former Rams All-Pro returner Pharoh Cooper, Christian Kirk expects to reprise his role as the Cardinals’ punt returner, Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic notes. Kliff Kingsbury did not confirm as much, but Kirk returned 21 punts as a rookie. While at Texas A&M, Arizona’s current WR2 notched six punt-return TDs in three seasons.
  • Arrested on suspicion of DUI last month, Cardinals COO Ron Minegar will be suspended six weeks and fined $200K, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Steve Keim was suspended five weeks and also fined $200K last year for his “extreme” DUI. Minegar serves more as a business-side Cards exec.
  • Free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse visited the 49ers this week, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio notes (on Twitter). The Saints released the 30-year-old edge blocker from IR via injury settlement last weekend. Newhouse played 14 games with the Bills and Panthers last season.

West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.

Colts Sign Justin Houston

The Colts have reached agreement on a deal with former Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a two-year, $24MM deal, Schefter adds (Twitter link). 

The deal includes $18.5MM in total guarantees, according to Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter). That’s a larger-than-expected guarantee for Houston, who did not have a ton of suitors following his release from Kansas City.

The Chiefs tried to trade Houston this offseason, but no club was willing to take on his $15.25MM base salary. On March 10, they released him outright. By cutting Houston, the Chiefs saved $14MM in cap space while absorbing $7.1MM in dead money.

Houston led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014, but his free agent market has been eerily quiet over the last couple of weeks. Now, he’ll join the Colts as he enters his age-30 campaign.

The Colts recently explored a trade for Dee Ford, Schefter notes (on Twitter), but they ultimately held on to their draft picks and landed his former Chiefs teammate.

Houston can still be an effective player, as evidenced by his 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Pro Football Focus graded him as the NFL’s 14th-best edge defender last year, and his presence should go a long way towards bolstering the Colts’ lackluster pass rush. And, while a 4-3 scheme might not be a perfect fit for Houston, he can still be a disruptor in Matt Eberflus‘ system.

The addition of Houston may also alter the Colts’ draft plans. The Colts may still look for a young edge rusher in April, but having Houston on the roster may allow them to stand pat at No. 26 rather than trading up for an upper-echelon prospect.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Ford, Mosley, Crowder

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

49ers, Chiefs Agree To Dee Ford Trade

The Chiefs will send Dee Ford to San Francisco. The 49ers have agreed to send their 2020 second-round pick to the Chiefs for the franchise-tagged pass rusher, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. We heard earlier tonight that the two sides were discussing a trade.

The teams have agreed on compensation, and it sounds like the 49ers and Ford have agreed to an extension. ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets that Ford has signed a five-year, $87.5MM deal with his new squad. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that the deal contains around $45MM in guaranteed money.

The 49ers are in need of edge-rushing talent, and Ford would certainly fit the bill. Ford registered a career-high 13 sacks last season, making his first Pro Bowl. Ford played in a 4-3 at Auburn and, interestingly, would be a full-time end in the 49ers’ 4-3. Beyond Ford, the Chiefs have 2018 second-round pick Breeland Speaks and 2017 second-rounder Tanoh Kpassagnon. Those two have combined for 3.5 sacks in three seasons.

The Chiefs had reportedly been shopping Ford even they slapped him with a franchise tag that will pay him up a bit more than $15MM. The front office had reportedly been seeking a second-rounder in exchange for Ford, but there were some pundits who believed that organization may have to settle for a third-rounder plus another asset. Ultimately, it sounds like San Francisco was willing to meet Kansas City’s asking price.

The Chiefs pass-rushing corps will look a whole lot different next season. The team recently released Justin Houston, leaving the team with few edge defenders on the roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs, 49ers In Advanced Dee Ford Talks

The Chiefs and 49ers are deep in talks about a Dee Ford trade, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding this deal could end up being finalized on Tuesday night.

This would be a major move for a Chiefs franchise that just released Justin Houston. The Chiefs put out trade feelers for both Houston and Ford, but speculation persisted about the team being prepared to jettison only one of its edge starters. But now? The 2019 Chiefs’ pass rush may look quite different from the most recent corps.

Should this trade come to pass, the Chiefs may not be likely to obtain one of the 49ers’ top two draft picks. They were targeting a Round 2 choice for Ford, but Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller tweets a third-rounder and an additional asset may end being the return. This would be similar to Kansas City’s 2018 Alex Smith trade, which brought back a third-round pick and Kendall Fuller.

San Francisco was one of the destinations mentioned for Ford. The 49ers are in need of edge-rushing talent and have been linked to that spot with their No. 2 draft pick. They may soon be in position to work out a new contract with Ford, on whom the Chiefs placed their franchise tag. That component will be key in this process, per Rapoport.

Ford, who is set for his age-28 season, was given the linebacker franchise tag — worth just more than $15MM.

This would leave the Chiefs with no proven edge rushers. But the tag-and-trade scenario would free up more than $15MM in cap space, whereas the team had to eat some dead money in its Houston release.

Ford registered a career-high 13 sacks last season, making his first Pro Bowl. While he has not been especially reliable in his career, he is by far the Chiefs’ best in-house edge rusher. But with K.C. moving to a 4-3 defense, new DC Steve Spagnuolo appears to be willing to rock the boat to find better fits.

Ford played in a 4-3 at Auburn and, interestingly, would be a full-time end in the 49ers’ 4-3. Beyond Ford, the Chiefs have 2018 second-round pick Breeland Speaks and 2017 second-rounder Tanoh Kpassagnon. Those two have combined for 3.5 sacks in three seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Rudolph, Browns, Packers

Kyle Rudolph isn’t going anywhere. We heard earlier today that the Vikings had asked Rudolph to take a pay-cut, but his management team is pushing back forcefully on those rumors. Rudolph’s agent, Brian Murphy, released a statement saying “despite rumors, Vikings are not in negotiations with Kyle Rudolph, have not asked him to take a pay reduction and have told us explicitly that Rudy will not only be on the team this year, but hopefully for years to come,” via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’s a strong statement, and it doesn’t leave much room for doubt. Rudolph is scheduled to make $7.275MM next season and the Vikings have almost no salary cap space, but they’ll apparently have to create room somewhere else. Rudolph has spent the last eight seasons in Minnesota after the Vikings took him in the second round of the 2011 draft. He hasn’t been in the top-tier of tight ends, but he’s been a solid and consistent player, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Rudolph has also been very durable recently, appearing in all 16 games in four straight years.

Here’s more from around the league’s northern divisions:

  • Greg Robinson signed a one-year deal to return to the Browns a couple of weeks ago, and now we have the details on the contract. Interestingly, his new pact includes $500K in weigh-in bonuses, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Robinson will have weigh-ins around once a month starting in April all the way through the regular season, which suggests Cleveland wasn’t too happy with the weight he played at last year. Robinson’s deal has a base salary of $5.5MM with a $500K signing bonus, $400K in per-game roster bonuses, and a $100K workout bonus. He could face competition from a rookie, but right now the former second overall pick projects as the team’s starting left tackle.
  • Speaking of the Browns, the status of receiver Breshad Perriman is still up in the air. The former first round pick and draft bust with the Ravens revitalized his career in Cleveland last year, but is now set to be an unrestricted free agent. The “two sides aren’t close” on a deal, but Perriman “wants to be back, and realizes that Baker Mayfield helped him resuscitate his career,” according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Kay Cabot writes that Perriman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, “wants to let the market” set the price for the 25-year-old receiver. After joining the Browns mid-season, Perriman had 233 yards and two touchdowns the final four weeks of the year.
  • The Packers have reportedly expressed interest in Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford. But trading for Ford, who has been franchise-tagged by Kansas City, may prove difficult for Green Bay. Any team that trades for Ford is likely to try and sign him to a longterm deal, but the Packers don’t usually like longterm deals with a ton of guaranteed money and prefer to structure deals with large signing bonuses instead, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). That could be a problem because as Rapoport points out, Ford has the same agent as Le’Veon Bell, and the agent takes a very strong stance on the need for more guaranteed money in deals. None of this means the Packers won’t be able to trade for Ford, but it’s an interesting note nonetheless, and it could force them to turn their focus elsewhere as they look for pass-rushing help.

Packers, 49ers Have Expressed Interest In Dee Ford

The Chiefs have some suitors for Dee Ford. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the organization has a “market” for the pass rusher, with the Packers and 49ers among the teams that have expressed interest in a trade.

Kansas City slapped Ford with the franchise tag earlier this week, and subsequent reports indicated that they were shopping the Pro Bowler. The Chiefs are reportedly seeking a second-rounder for the 27-year-old, who finished last season with 55 tackles, 13 sacks, and seven forced fumbles.

While the asking price isn’t particularly high, an acquiring team would be required to pay Ford’s $15.433MM salary for next season. This number has the chance to increase; as our own Dallas Robinson pointed out, Ford is likely to file a grievance arguing that he’s a defensive end, and that would boost his franchise value to $17.128MM in 2019.

The Packers have been seeking an edge rusher, and Ford would be an easy replacement for free agent linebacker Clay Matthews. Meanwhile, the 49ers defensive line showed some intrigue in 2018, and adding a player of Ford’s caliber would surely boost the defense’s ceiling in 2019.