Dee Ford re-emerged for a stretch last season, but his attempt to bounce back from a lost 2020 campaign again hit an injury wall. As a result, Ford’s 49ers career is almost certainly over.
“I don’t see a lot of hope with him being a factor for us on the field moving forward,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco. “I think we tried to be as patient as possible, and no fault of Dee, he just ran into a bad situation with his back, where he couldn’t get healthy.
“We’ll figure that out, exactly what the transaction will be. But not enough hope and progress to see him playing for us moving forward.”
The former first-round pick returned to action for six games in 2021, registering three sacks. Ford’s back trouble flared up again, and it shut him down for the season. While Ford played a key role for the 49ers’ Super Bowl LIV-qualifying team, recording 6.5 sacks, he dealt with various injuries that year as well. He saw action in just one 2020 game because of the back malady.
The 49ers initially designed Ford’s five-year, $87.5MM deal in a way that protected them down the line, but after a 2020 restructure, the team ended up keeping the former Chiefs Pro Bowler for two more seasons. The 49ers redid Ford’s deal again in 2021 and adjusted it earlier this month. San Francisco will only be hit with $5.8MM in dead money if Ford is designated as a post-June 1 cut, leaving an extra $8MM-plus in dead money for 2023.