Ford was franchise tagged by Kansas City officially on March 4 after the best season of his career which saw the former Auburn star rack up 13 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Enter San Francisco, who, despite investing multiple first round picks into its defensive line in recent years, wasn't satisfied with their group of pass rushers.
Ford, 28, was amenable to playing 2019 on the franchise tag, but Kansas City is shifting away from the 3-4 defensive scheme it used under former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who was sacked at the end of the season after leading the NFL's 31st-ranked defense. While Ford can play both, he excels as a pass-rushing outside linebacker which made the Chiefs explore a deal. He had no sacks or tackles in the Chiefs' AFC Championship Game home loss to the New England Patriots.
San Francisco has been searching for a player on the outside fitting that description since it parted ways with Aldon Smith in 2014. During the 2018 season, coach Kyle Shanahan compared the importance of an edge rusher to the defense to that of a quarterback on offense. "He's had some production and if he is here with us, I'll be excited to have him and be excited to work with him". He has 30.5 sacks in 67 games since joining the Chiefs as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2014 National Football League draft.
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