Poona Ford

Bills DT Poona Ford Unhappy With Limited Playing Time

The Bills’ offseason acquisition of Poona Ford appeared to give them experienced depth along the defensive line. The veteran has played sparingly this year, however, and his lack of usage is understandably not sitting well.

Ford inked a one-year deal with Buffalo in May. The pact contained $1.5MM in guaranteed compensation but a maximum value of $3.25MM based on playing time and sack incentives. The 28-year-old appeared to be set up for a rotational role, but instead he has been a healthy scratch five times this season. Ford’s snap share sits at 32%, by far the lowest of his career since his rookie campaign.

“I don’t know, it’s just been weird for me,” the former Seahawk said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News“This isn’t what I was expecting coming here… I thought I was going to be able to contribute and help this team win.”

Over the course of a five-year stint in Seattle, Ford made 81 appearances, including 64 starts. He proved to be a consistent producer, racking up between 32 and 53 tackles each season between 2019-22. He collected 7.5 sacks during that span, demonstrating an ability to chip in as a pass rusher as well. In his limited playing time this season, however, Ford has recorded just seven tackles and a pair of quarterback pressures.

Buffalo added veteran Linval Joseph last month, and he has established himself as a contributor along the D-line. Joseph, along with Ed OliverJordan Phillips and Tim Settle, are in place atop the depth chart for the Bills. Injuries to one or more members of that quartet will likely be needed for Ford to receive an extended look, although the team’s coaching staff has expressed support for his professionalism in handling the situation.

Given how the season has shaken out so far, it would come as no surprise if Ford were to depart Buffalo in free agency this spring. His market value will take a hit given his lack of production, but it could receive a boost if circumstances were to change for him late in the campaign.

Bills, DT Poona Ford Agree To Deal

MAY 5: Details on the pact are in, courtesy of the Buffalo News’ Ryan O’Halloran. Ford can earn up to $3.25MM this season, based on playing time and sack incentives. His guarantee amount checks in at $1.5MM, and his cap hit will be $2.25MM. Ford will look to provide the Bills with a relatively low-cost veteran along the interior, but a strong showing this season could earn him another multi-year contract, either from Buffalo or elsewhere next year.

MAY 2: With the Seahawks bringing in two new defensive tackle starters, Poona Ford will head elsewhere. The veteran interior defensive lineman agreed to terms with the Bills on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills have since announced the signing.

Ford will sign a one-year contract to join the Bills, with Pelissero adding the sixth-year defender declined at least one more lucrative offer in order to land with the AFC East contender. The Bills did not allocate any draft resources to their interior D-line; Ford will join an experienced group in Buffalo. GM Brandon Beane said the team planned to draft a defensive tackle but noted the value never added up with the board.

The Bills re-signed Jordan Phillips this offseason and still roster former first-round pick Ed Oliver, ex-Washington inside rusher Tim Settle and veteran DaQuan Jones. Ford, who made 63 starts in Seattle from 2019-22, will commit to Buffalo hours after the NFL’s deadline for signings to affect the compensatory formula. Moves past 3pm CT Monday do not affect 2024 compensatory picks. With this date annually spurring a third wave of sorts in free agency, the Bills are taking advantage and beefing up their defensive front.

Ford, 27, re-signed with the Seahawks in March 2021, inking a two-year contract with that signed him as a UDFA back in 2018. Ford played out that two-year, $12.35MM pact last season, and the Seahawks have changed up their interior D-line once again. Seattle released both Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods, signing Dre’Mont Jones and reuniting with Jarran Reed. The team also used two Day 3 picks on D-linemen this year.

Pro Football Focus graded Ford as one of the NFL’s top run-defending D-tackles in 2020 and ’21, slotting him as a top-20 player at the position overall in each season. Last season, PFF was down on Ford’s performance and ranked him outside the top 75 at the position. Seattle, however, had switched from its longtime 4-3 alignment into more of a 3-4 look under DC Clint Hurtt. Ford, who finished with three sacks last year and combined for 25 tackles for loss from 2019-22, will return to a 4-3 setup in Buffalo.

ESPN’s run stop win rate included both Oliver and Jones in the top 10 among D-tackles, and the Bills finished last season fifth against the run. But the Bengals mashed the Bills’ front in a one-sided playoff matchup. Cincinnati’s 172-yard outing in the snow played a significant role in the Bills being ousted at home. And the team, which lost Harrison Phillips in 2022, still has many long-term questions at the position.

Oliver is entering his fifth-year option season. Ford will now join Settle, Jones and Phillips as Bills inside D-linemen unsigned beyond this season. For 2023, however, Buffalo boasts a deep contingent at this spot. Von Miller‘s ACL recovery overshadows the other components on this line, but the Ford pact stands to help the unit as the future Hall of Famer aims to return to form.

Seahawks, DT Poona Ford Agree To Two-Year Deal

8:16pm: Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that the two-year pact has been agreed upon (Twitter link). The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero adds some more context (via Twitter), reporting that the deal is worth close to $14MM with incentives. Ford will receive $4.4MM in 2021, which is just shy of the first-round RFA tender amount. The 25-year-old will have a chance at bigger money in 2022, and he’ll hit unrestricted free agency in 2023.

6:42pm: The Seahawks lost one of their top unrestricted free agents earlier today when they saw Shaquill Griffin sign with the Jaguars, but they are trying to keep a key RFA in the fold. Per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Seattle is working on a two-year deal for defensive tackle Poona Ford.

A former college free agent out of Texas, Ford started all 16 games for the ‘Hawks last year, recording 40 tackles and a pair of sacks. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 15th-best interior defender, with PFF scoring him especially highly in run defense (he finished with the exact same overall score as Giants DL Leonard Williams).

Instead of giving Ford an RFA tender, the Seahawks are trying to buy out his first year of UFA eligibility and keep him around through 2022. He has served as a quality anchor for the club’s defensive front, so it makes sense that Seattle would want to continue the relationship for another couple of years.

The deadline to tender Ford is tomorrow if the two sides cannot come to terms on a multi-year pact.

Seahawks Add 15 UDFAs

Beginning their rookie minicamp on Friday, the Seahawks announced their undrafted rookie class. Fifteen players comprise this contingent. Here’s the full rundown:

Interestingly, this class houses just two offensive line hopefuls. Lundblade was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last year. The Seahawks used just one of their draft choices, a sixth-rounder, on what’s been a troublesome area for the franchise for years. Seattle’s only free agency add here was D.J. Fluker, who worked mostly as a depth piece for an embattled Giants team in 2017.

Seattle brought in three wide receivers after not addressing the position in the draft. All check in at 6-foot-1 or taller. The two fullbacks bring the Seahawks’ total to four, and counting notable fifth-round pick Shaquem Griffin and sixth-rounder Jacob Martin, Seattle’s added six rookie linebackers this year.