Grading 49ers' trade for pass rusher Dee Ford

Trading Dee Ford shows Chiefs are willing to lose a marquee player for a better fit

The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs have reportedly agreed on a trade that sends Dee Ford to San Francisco. He was scheduled to become a free agent but the Chiefs halted those plans by using the franchise tag in order to trade him. The Niners are expected to sign Ford to a five-year, $87.5 million deal, according to a report by ESPN's Josina Anderson. After missing several games with injuries throughout the course of his career, Ford played all 16 weeks for the first time since his rookie season.

The 49ers took a massive step toward curing their anemic pass rush. Alexander, 24, will receive up to $54 million over the next four years on what has been viewed as a team-friendly deal. In five seasons in KC, Ford had 30.5 sacks and 136 total tackles.

Rather than waiting to address the need in the draft with Nick Bosa or Josh Allen, it seems that the 49ers found their guy as they now attempt to work out a new contract for the former Auburn star.

Ford was picked in the first round by Kansas City in 2014 but went through some growing pains as he adapted to life in the National Football League and has an injury history that is cause for concern. Instead, they gave him the franchise tag on March 2. He also forced a league-high seven fumbles. His best statistical season was in 2016 when he racked up 145 combined tackles, three sacks seven passes defensed, an interception, a touchdown, and a forced fumble.

San Francisco has been searching for a player on the outside fitting that description since it parted ways with Aldon Smith in 2014. Ford is an undeniably quick, talented edge rusher, but he's spent most of his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Or, they could play him at "Leo", which is the 49ers' weak-side defensive end - the defensive end who lines up farthest away from the tight end. We'd give it an "A" if Ford had more than two productive seasons coming in - and if he didn't undergo back surgery in 2017, which shouldn't be overlooked. But after the Chiefs made that move, it was reported the team did so with the intention of trading him.

Ford's struggles against the run shouldn't matter much.

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