The 49ers made a blockbuster trade Tuesday evening.
They dealt their second-round pick in 2020 to the Kansas City Chiefs for edge rusher Dee Ford, then gave Ford a five-year, $87.5 million contract extension, according to published reports.
Ford, 27, recorded 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in 2018. Both statistics were career highs. Despite his stellar play last season, the Chiefs refused to give him a long-term contract extension. Instead, they gave him the franchise tag on March 2. They reportedly felt Ford didn’t defend the run well enough and wouldn’t fit their 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Chiefs had used a 3-4 defense the past five seasons, and Ford was one of their starting outside linebackers.
The 49ers also use a 4-3 defense, and it isn’t clear where they plan to play Ford. They could line him up at strong-side linebacker — the linebacker who lines up closest to the tight end. 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.
Wherever the 49ers decide to play Ford in their base defense, they certainly will play him at defensive end in their nickel defense during passing downs. He is their best edge rusher.
Click here to read the rest of the article.