Grading the Dee Ford trade and contract extension

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs away from a tackle attempt by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford (55) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Let’s start with the positives.

Dee Ford will significantly improve the 49ers’ pass rush for the next few years when healthy.

He’s only 27.

He has the explosiveness and flexibility the 49ers want from their edge-rushers.

His pass-rush production last season was as good as almost anyone’s.

Plus, he’s the best edge-rusher the 49ers have had since Aldon Smith, and should complement DeForest Buckner quite well.

Now, the negatives.

Ford has been a 3-4 outside linebacker his entire career, so he’ll have to learn a new position. He doesn’t defend the run well. He comes from a defense that fired its defensive coordinator and ranked 31st and yards allowed and 24th in points allowed. He comes from a team that would rather have a second-round pick in 2020 than him. And he has produced only one elite season — 2018.

And yet, the 49ers traded a second-round pick for him and made him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. Like most of their moves, it seems they made this one in semi-panic. The 49ers reportedly were interested in trading for Odell Beckham Jr.. He seemed to be their Plan A. After they signed Kwon Alexander, they didn’t sign anyone else. They merely made a half-hearted attempt to sign cornerback Bradley Roby before the Texans signed him. The 49ers presumably wanted to wait for the Giants to trade Beckham before spending more big money.

At 4:58 Tuesday afternoon, the Giants traded Beckham to the Browns. Exactly 20 minutes later the 49ers traded for Dee Ford. This felt like a knee-jerk reaction to missing out on Beckham.

The 49ers’ coaches should feel ecstatic they got a quality player. John Lynch should feel worried that the Chiefs may have taken advantage of his desperation to make a move.


Disclaimer: If you love this move, don’t let me change your mind. Enjoy it. Be a fan.

This article has 181 Comments

  1. I love this pickup!

    I think Ford benefited greatly from the emergence of Chris Jones in the Interior who had 15.5 sacks last season. Should have a similar effect from Buckner this year.

  2. “And he has produced only one elite season — 2018.”

    His 2016 season was almost exactly the same as last year. Only difference is that he played 223 less snaps.

    1. Post like this proves you can be a Sports Writer as long as you put “Sports” in front of “Writer”. This pick says that they are going for Josh Allen, moveable pieces along the EDGE and interior is what Saleh is trying to do

  3. Grant,

    You are right in your on your analyst of the trade, but my grade would be lower C- or D+. The 49ers management always seem to just miss out on trades and signing big free agents then come back and signs 2nd and 3rd tier players to big money or trade for low quality players. That’s not a good sign at all. They probably could of gotten Dee for a 4 or 5 round pick but they panicked as always and got scared.

    No issue with the player, I would sign a $87 million contract too.

    1. The contract is a good one, very similar to Garoppolo in that both are basically what their franchise tag numbers were going to be.

        1. Huh? 19 quarterbacks making more than Garoppolo this year. Why does that cause your disdain? Sportscaster is free. Check it out.

            1. “For a guy who had played seven games. In hindsight, they should have just given him the franchise tag.”

              That is basically what they did. His contract for 2018 and 2019 is basically what the tag number would have been last year, and the dead money to cut him after this season is very minimal.

            2. In hindsight, if only you had it Grant. Here is hindsight. No one knew Jimmy would get injured even you. It would also cost the niners more money in the long run. Plus, you burn bridges with the player, just look at what happens in similar instances. It also shows other players we are serious. Remember we got Sherman because of it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have come here, then we would have had even more question marks at DB. Now that is hindsight!

    2. Man are you really this DUMB? A 4th or 5th rounder who doubled the production of our entire defense including Buckner…. this is a very nice signing period

      Ford – 78 QB pressures

      Closest 49er – 39 pressures smh

    3. He doesnt play the run well huh Grant? Yeah doesnt stop u from constantly rambling that they should draft Josh Allen. A guy who doesnt play the run well

  4. niners play a 5-2 he will rush the passer 85% of time this is a great pick up. B grade on giving up a pick but we get a 10+ sack guy. We add Bosa this D will be nasty

    1. Also KC traded him because they can’t pay him, Hill and Mahomes! Why can’t people see that we are fine you can’t just keep saying we need a great pass rusher then not get one. That is what our main issue is we CAN’T rush the passer! I love this pick! If we hadn’t done it someone else would have believe you me…Hate we just missed out on Earl but thems the brakes…We still have our #2 #36 and so on and so forth. I love this team good and bad been that way since 1980 so i’m staying faithful no matter what!

  5. I agree with what you said about the Dee Ford signing AND the Alexander signing. The 49ers should have signed Earl Thomas. Thomas and Sherm in the backfield would have been a great combination, maybe not as great as in the LOB days, none the less those 2 knew how to feed off each other and help the younger players develop. Ford, is a good pick up, over paid. The 49ers spent too much money on two LBs when they should have wanted to try and sign an OL to help protect Jimmy G. Staley isn’t getting any younger and McGlinchey is good. Mullens, and Beathard were running for their lives last year and now, the 49ers are going to mess around and draft Nick Bosa (if avail) or Josh Allen. Why? OL is where they need to draft, safety help address in the 2nd round. We have now lost the ability to sign Thomas. A guy that is used to a 3-4 defense will struggle with a 4-3. Another SF season in the toilet. STAYING FAITHFUL!

    1. They haven’t lost the ability to sign Thomas dummy …. you ppl in here just talk to talk and make up all type of stupidity!! They still have significant cap room for players and Kwon contract is team friendly but y’all just looking at overall numbers not the details but carry on goofy

      1. The 49ers have about $9M in cap space left. I don’t think Earl Thomas will be cheap. Agian, I could be wrong. We will see.

        1. Did you make that $9 million up Terry Smith? They have $41 million in salary cap space after Ford and Alexander. Why would you spew fake news?

    2. It’s true they need to really concentrate on the OL if other pieces in the O work, look what Indy did getting Nelson.

      1. I agree and I’m surprised more people aren’t saying it. I don’t care what grades we received, to me, we didn’t pass the eyeball test. Quarterbacks were constantly under pressure and rushing yards seemed to come in big chunks rather than consistently getting 3-5 yards per carry. When we needed 2 we got 0. We need at least one newcomer, FA or draft pick, to throw in the mix and we need Garnet to finally show us something.

  6. Instead of desperation , I would label it a plan B. Nothing wrong with filling a need.

    Front 7 wins Super Bowls .

    1. Rollo – If Dee Ford lines up with his hand on the ground on 1st or 2nd downs in regular game conditions (not 2 minute), I’m running the ball at him with a physical blocking scheme to make him play the run. He is light for a DE in non-pass heavy downs, and forcing him to play the run at the POA on 1st and 2nd downs also will take some starch out of the sails of his pass rush ability on 3rd downs.

      If the Niners attempt to play him as a stack backer on regular downs, protected by a 3 and a 5 technique on the open side of the formation, then why did they sign Alexander for all of that money because, in essence, they both will be playing the same spot?

    2. Dee Ford is light years better than Brock Coyle and Mark Nzeocha at SAM and wide-9.

      Kwon Alexander is hair on fire (Pro Bowl, 6 INT, 6 FF) better than Malcolm Smith and Elijah Lee alongside Fred Warner.

      Nick Bosa is a huge upgrade over Cassius Marsh.

      Free gen you has not even officially opened and you rush to judgment. A veteran DB will be added and that is likely an upgrade, especially if it is Earl Thomas or Pierre Desir…and even if it’s just Ha Ha or Rashaan Melvin.

      A healthy Garoppolo and McKinnon are much improved over 2018 offense.

      2nd year Pettis is better than rookie Pettis (see Kittle from season 1 to season 2).

      AJ Brown or N’Keal Harry or Deebo Samuel in second round is better than Burbridge.

      Is that what you mean by arguing that a good GM makes the team better?

      1. Anybody is better than Brock and Mark, So yes Dee would be light years better than them.

        Kwon is a lot better than Smith but Lee maybe but that’s when you have to figure in the contract Kwon got even if its team friendly.

        Again any edge rusher in this years draft is way better than Marsh who’s getting paid 5 million but don’t know for sure if Bosa will be their at number 2 or if the 49ers management likes Bosa.

        a few veteran DBs need to be added but it will probably a 3rd string CB or SS and pay them like 11 million per year. or will bring back Jimmie Ward at 11 million.

        A healthy JG was 1-2 last year and thru 16 games probably be 7-9 8-8 record with the current offense in place. Jerrick is not a 3 down back but by default will be an upgrade over Brieda.

        you cant assume Pettis will be like Kittle in year 2. plus Pettis looks to be an injury prone player. Young QBs almost always throw to their TE and next year he will get double teamed or may not even get the ball from JG.

        Any WR is better than Burbridge and hopefully they do draft an upgrade at WR, since they missed out on the good ones.

        So overpaying for Kwon, trading for Dee and also giving a large contract, hoping they draft Bosa, hoping they get Thomas or Pierre, Thinking JG and Jerrick will improve the offense (which stat wise yes but not wins wise) and thinking Pettis will be better in year 2, while hoping to draft a WR again in the 2nd round. I would say that’s a bad GM and would probably get fired from most teams if they had that many issues to address.

        Also a good GM would not be paying Marsh 5 million and Arik 9 million, then adding Kwon at 14 million this year and probably 17 million or higher for Dee this year and Sherman at 9 million. Sherman is ok im just throwing in his cap figure and of course we don’t know how the 2 new guys will play this year.

        1. You’re not the first person I’ve seen use the argument that “next year kittle will get double teamed” or “now that teams know about kittle”.
          They knew last year. Maybe not in the first half, but do you think teams ignored the way he was playing? Do you think teams are like “well that Kittle guy seems to be good. We should plan for him next year”.
          It’s a bad argument.

  7. The way I see it is the 49ers could of traded for OBJ, Dee and signed Bell but they didn’t. They only traded for Dee. If the figures are correct Bell only gets 4 years 52.5 million. The 49ers spent 30 million last year on Jerrick and you mean to tell me they couldn’t beat the 52.5 million offer from the Jets. We would of upgraded our offense and defense in one night and FA hasn’t even started yet. The 49ers almost 52.5 million last year on a Center who really wasn’t that good.

    That’s how great GMs should work and operate to make their teams better so they can compete.

  8. In the other thread I admitted that the modern NFL game has left me behind. Ford has the credentials but I need others to tell me how to fit him into the 49ers scheme. I know what they say it is but I just don’t seem to understand what it is they’re trying to do. We just got a safety who plays linebacker (coming off a season ending ACL injury) and now we have an undersized LB who is a pass rushing specialist. So apparently the lighter guy will be SAM and Ford will rush from the edge – which is WILL – or I guess Saleh is really running a 5-2 like 49reasons says (or the old Oakie Defense from my youth). But then again, we’re going wide 9 so who’s on the edges? Like I said, I’m lost. Please someone tell me where we are going with these moves – or is it the 49ers version of FA BPA?

    1. Most of the time (2/3s?) he will line up in a nickel or dime package and rush the passer as a defensive end. I’m guessing we’ll see the wide 9 technique used by the ends in the pass rushing situations in the Nickel and Dime defenses. I could also see it being played on 4 man fronts against outside zone running teams (like the RAMS)

      the Under is sort of like an Oakie front but it’s more like a 3-4 scheme. The Okie front has containment ends. Much like 3-4 outside linebackers. The 4-3 Under with a 1 high shell (SS/Rover in the box) has a containment SAM on the strong side and the rover on the other side playing force/containment.

      I’m guessing that in the base under front (only played about 1/3 of the time) Ford will play the SAM position. The SAM has D gap responsibility and and often has force/containment duties as well (Cover 3 Buzz). But I suppose he could be LEO which is the weak side end lined up wide. His job is to rush up field, tackle what he can in the backfield or spill his runner to the rover.

      1. I really enjoy allforfunnplay’s posts. I agree, given the wide 9 formation, that Ford will be a LEO that allows him to play wide, rush up field to the backfield. Alexander will be the WILL, with Warner at MIKE. I think there will be someone else at SAM in the base under front, if we can find that person. Zach Brown, just released from the Redskins maybe (though he played inside in a 3-4)?

        1. I say the above knowing Ford is small for a full-time LEO, but the Wide 9 formation may mitigate this fact.

  9. I love both signings. Just because their not the names everyone was projecting, doesn’t mean they don’t fill a need. Tired of all the cry baby fans. Just shut up and enjoy the ride.

    1. McKinnon was signed to fill a need. So were Garcon and Malcom Smith. So were Richburg and Juszczyk. So was Goodwin.

      Simply signing players who play a position that is a gaping hole on the current roster doesn’t mean needs are being filled. “Just shut up and enjoy the ride.” Perhaps you’re happy rooting for a team that is a perennial doormat, but I’m not. Until this team demonstrates that it can consistently compete, all criticism directed their way is deserved.

  10. Dee Ford is perfect for the wide-9 that Saleh envisions. He’s a three down player with that contract, so expect to see him at SAM position on first downs. PFF rates Ford’s run defense “above average” (67.6) despite what Grant says. He is only “average” in pass coverage, but Saleh can live with that because Ford won’t be asked to do that often and he so superior at pass rushing. Dee is adept at slapping the ball out of quarterbacks’ hands too. If he was available in the 2020 draft, I would take him with a first round pick but Lynch got him for a second rounder. Why complain?

    1. Nice post. If PFF’s ratings are on, getting what Ford brings to our defense for next year’s second round pick appears to be a sound move. Also, you have to assume there were other bidders.

  11. I give thus trade an A-. Unlike the signing of Kwon, they didn’t overpay him. If Ford plays anywhere near last year’s performance it will help alleviate mediocre play in the secondary as QBs will have less time to throw. I don’t believe it was a knee-jerk reaction either. They had a list of players they’re focused on and prioritized their list. That’s my perception.

  12. The Kansas City fans are laughing their rear ends off. One good season and a contract year to boot. The guy has never played in a 4-3 which is one of the reasons KC dealt him.. Lot of hope in Lynch/Shanny FA acquisitions thus far. Better to have hope than no hope at all.. Feel like they are trying to draw an inside straight with who they’re getting..

  13. Overall I like the acquisition. Solid B.

    I’m curious, how would Grant have graded this move if the surrendered pick had been a 3rd?

    And who gives a flip what Chief’s fans think? Do fans in other markets care what we 9er fans think? Ha!!

  14. I dont agree with the semi panic part, since we heard early that the niners were interested in doing this trade. Maybe they tried for OBJ, but the plan was to go for Ford if the price was too high. That’s not panicking, that’s just executing your plan. I think you’re panicking, cuz this destroys your money ball theory, lol.

    IMO the issue is that it is very difficult to get top talent here without way overpaying (i.e. Raiders). We are a rebuilding team that has had a ton of dysfunction in the past and has proven nothing. It also doesn’t help we are in a state with ridiculously high taxes and ridiculously high cost of living. Hence we need to make trades in order to land a guy like Dee. If Lynch and Shanny can right the ship then people will want to come.

    Now, do I like this move? I think it’s a bit risky since they are paying him like an elite all around player, when he isn’t. He doesn’t play the run well, making him a liability. But hey if he can produce anywhere near last year it will be a big help to this defense. I’m okay with the draft pick since we will likely recoup that by trading back. Plus if we know the niners they front loaded his contract and gave themselves an out in 2 or 3 years.

    My grade: B-

    1. Leo gets it. Excellent assessment.

      Shanahan has said the EDGE pass rusher is second only to Quarterback in terms of importance to a team. In fact, I think he said it was the equivalent to a quarterback on defense in terms of value. So, that would make Dee Ford a priority over a very good receiver.

      BTW, critics of this move question why Chiefs traded Ford, as if that offers insight. Same question for the deal Lynch did not make, why did New York Giants trade Odell Beckham in his prime, a year after giving him a big extension, and just before transitioning from Manning? Did OBJ effort or attitude change after his big deal?

  15. The 49ers were never going to give up the #2 pick for OBJr., so I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion that Ford was a panic move. That #2 pick will either be spent on The Bosa Constrictor or flipped for more draft picks.

    The 49ers told Ford he will be attacking off the line almost exclusively. He’s finally fully recovered from his back surgery too. “Last year, at the point of attack, I wasn’t very strong — sometimes, they could knock me off my path,” Ford said. “Now, I’m gonna be like a Ferrari, but with an 18-wheeler’s force. I’m gonna have the muscle mass behind it.”

  16. Niners office sucks from top to bottom. It starts with York. A bratty kid who inherited this team and has never had a clue about it. Hands the keys to the bus over to a failed broadcaster with no experience as a GM and thinks he’s ginnando good. Well he isn’t any good. His terrible drafts and failed free agencies accompanied by tranny’s terrible redzone scheme and love for practice squad players have and will repeatedly produce top 5 1st round picks. We’ll be in this same convo next year I promise. The fact they let Beckham go and didn’t even inquire about brown with the worst receiving Corp in the league by a landslide is all the proof you need if the last 3 years haven’t done it. We will ALWAYS loose with Jed York as owner that’s an absolute promise. We’ve been the joke of the league the last 15 plus years

    1. I don’t have time to point out all the reasons why you’re wrong. So I’ll just focus on the “We’ve been the joke of the league for the past 15 years plus”.
      1. Cleveland has that crown. It’s not even close. (I’m well aware they look good now)
      2. Were they the joke when they went to 3 straight NFC championships?
      I can’t tell if that was hyperbole or just a hissy fit?
      The team is getting better. Remember what they inherited a couple years ago?
      Grab a paper bag and practice your breathing.

      1. Ok, so its the 2nd biggest joke of the league for the past 15 years behind Cleveland and they just improved more than we did so………………

  17. Lucky Sperm Jed and his band of merry morons do not have a clue. First of all Ford is 28, as of next Tuesday. Second, he is a contract year wonder. Third, for a fraction of the price, they could have signed Justin Houston, who at 30 years of age would still be a great situational pass rusher, and kept their draft pick. Lynch and Shanahan are in way over their heads.

  18. You’re just creating narratives and front office drama for fun now.

    First for some reason beyond all reason you believed that 49ers couldn’t work on other deals while making the Kwon Alexander deal. The only thing I can think of is that Grant believes that Lynch and Marathe took the rest of the day off to go golfing or something… wait…deals can be made on the golf course.

    Now Grant believes that the Niners can make a trade and negotiate an extension in 20 minutes out of panic.

    This is all of course bizarro land speculation on Grant’s part to fit a negative narrative.

    The majority of players signed or traded for in free agency are unwanted for some reason by their previous team.

    So the legitimate issues? His back injury in 2017 will always be a serious concern. He’s also not been a consistent performer. The good news is that when healthy he has put up great pass rushing production. Grant’s right as well that Ford is not a good run defender. As for scheme change for him? In the base defense which is generally only played 1/3 of the time it would only be an issue if Ford were playing LEO. But there’s a good chance he could play SAM which isn’t all that different than playing a 3-4 OLB. He would still have outside containment duties (as opposed to taking on a tackle and spilling players to the rover).

    1. You loved the Kwon Alexander signing. Here’s what Over The Cap said about it:

      “This was the first of the insane linebacker contracts to come out of free agency. Alexander is a nice player but there are plenty of nice linebackers in the NFL. There are numerous ones usually every year in the draft and free agency is usually flooded with sub $9 million players that are productive. They must have fallen in love with him long before this to have made this type of offer.They did get some of their usual good 49ers stuff in there like the April 1 vesting date and $2.25 million in per game bonuses over the life of the contract, but this is more or less the Anthony Hitchens contract on steroids.

      Grade: D”

      1. He didn’t say he loved the Alexander signing, just that he doesn’t believe that they were only working at one signing at a time. We all know you think this FO is inept and have absolutely no plan to right this team. All we’re saying, is though they may still be inept, they have a plan and they are executing it now. We should be discussing whether their plan is the right one, not whether or not they have one at all. I think that’s what some of us here are getting at.

            1. Sorry to rain on your parade. It’s a great deal. The 49ers are a great organization. Things are looking up!

              1. Once again Grant gets snarky when we’ll reasoned comments discredit his hysterical articles. Daddy must have told him it was ok to act like a 5 year old. Both signings fill needs that you said needed to be filled. When they do that you whine and complain because they are not the players you wanted or for the price you think is right. Why don’t you just report the news. You do that fairly well. Its when you try showing how smart you think are is when you get in trouble. I think dear old dad spent too much on that transaction. I give it a D+.

              2. It’s the beginning of a long offseason in here in pundit land. Can’t wait to find put how the Niners f up the draft.

              3. Somewhere between never and always f-ing up things lies the truth. And somewhere between the cynic and fan lies the truth teller. We’ve had an overdose of cynical always from IT49ers. And you’re surprised at the pushback?

              4. True. Even though the 49ers have been perennial losers since 2003, you gotta focus on the positives.

              5. Grant. what is “fan” short for? Certainly not dispassionate observer. There used to be a guy here BayArea-something-or-other that had it right

      2. I didn’t love it. I just explained it. As for over the cap. They’re not factoring in the 49er’s method for paying to mitigate risk….they just give it a passing mention. Like most people, they simplistically look at the total dollars.

        In fact I gave you my reasons for concern based on my belief in some issues with Saleh’s defensive schematics and personnel fit.

        1. Over The Cap is the most respected salary-cap website going. They’re looking more deeply at the specifics than you are.

          1. Grant, you’ve never been one to appeal to authority when making one of your MANY contrarian claims and you’re far less knowledgeable about football than I am about finance and legal contracts. But now you’re calling for an appeal to authority because it supports your negative narrative?

            1. This comment is rich on many levels. The only contrarian claims regarding Kwon Alexander are ones that praise the signing.

              1. that’s my point. I guess you missed it. You also seem to have also missed the fact that I never praised the signing of the player…..just the structure of the contract and the fact that has no impact on other signings.

                But all that aside. Do you think Ford plays SAM or LEO? Or do you think it depends on who the Niners are able to draft?

              2. I was talking about the Base Defense.

                The SAM already pretty much plays in a wide 9. LEO plays in a 7 or 9 technique.

                All the “wide 9” talk I think is more about the 4 man nickel packages.

                If he plays SAM that would mean that unless there’s a zone blitz (hey, I love me some hook zoning Nose Tackles!) that Ford would have coverage responsibilities when an opponent passes on the base defense. That doesn’t happen often (unless you’re playing against Shanahan).

              3. I’m talking about the base defense, too. The Lions played a base Wide 9 alignment with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, who is the 49ers’ new DL coach.

              4. So you think they’re going to abandon the base Under scheme?

                I could see them using the wide 9 in some specific situations….like against outside zone running teams. There’s only one bubble in the under front which means it’s stout against inside runs. But the Over Front has 2 bubbles which makes it weaker against inside runners but flows more freely to stop outside runs.

                In some ways it reminds me of the Jimmy Johnson defense. The Miami 4-3 was created by Jimmy Johnson to stop the college option teams. The idea was to get penetration and blow stuff up before the option plays had time to develop as well as fast flow to the edges. This was different than the classic gap control defenses of the time. The same kind of gap control defense that the Under Front (and many other ones) use. I could see this scheme being chosen to stop the outside zone running (Rams come to mind) and RPO teams.

                And this brings me to the problem I have with Alexander signing. If you’re going to run a Miami 4-3 type of scheme (even if it’s from the Nickel with a hybrid nickel back/linebacker) than even Jimmy Johnson…who famously would convert safeties into undersized linebackers knew that you had to have a true linebacker to play MIKE. Those bubbles I mentioned in the over front? They expose the middle of the defense so the MIKE has to be stout enough to consistently fill those holes because the D-linemen are no longer jamming into the gaps and squeezing them (making gaps cloudy so that the backers can flow to where they need to be)…the D-line now is penetrating up field leaving the backers exposed which is a problem for an undersized MIKE backer.

              5. From what I understand, the 49ers haven’t yet decided if they’re going use the Wide 9 alignment only in Nickel or in Base as well. The acquisition of Ford makes me think they’ll go full Wide 9.

              6. It could be something as simple as moving the LEO from a 7 to a 9 technique (in the classic Under front the open end plays a 5/6 technique) and having the SAM move from a 6 to a 9 (but like I said he already pretty much plays from a 9 technique a lot of the time anyway).

                I would only do that in some specific situations.

                A Wide 9 Front with a Single High Shell gives the defense a little bit of help with the SS/Rover in the box to play force while the wide 9 ends rush up field and spill runners. The SAM backer will have Force and probably be lined up wider than a typical 50 tech.

                But I still have concerns for the interior run defense. Unless they have a really strong Nose to continue to play a squeeze technique along with maybe Armstead squeezing his gap while the ends and under tackle continue to rush upfield….it would be a hybrid of both schemes. It’s all schematic speculation and I have no idea if it would work.

          2. I can see why you’re fond of Over The Cap. There writing style–with the injection of just a dash of snark–mirrors yours.

              1. “Crunching Numbers fills the void that has existed for years when it comes to understanding NFL contracts and the rules regarding the salary cap.” – Paraag Marathe, Executive VP of Football Operations, San Francisco 49ers

              2. Yep. That’s the blurb. The author of that book, Jason Fitzgerald, works for Over The Cap and is not a fan of John Lynch.

          3. Over The Cap has interesting commentary but quite frankly I think they entirely miss the boat on what’s really important in the Kwon Alexander signing. I could not possibly care less if they paid Kwon Alexander $250M to play for 4 years. The most important factor is how does the contract structure impact the 49ers ability to sign additional players. The 49ers cap space is in great shape even though they signed Garoppolo for huge dollars last year. Did they structure the Alexander deal in a way that minimizes the cap hit in future years to allow them to comfortably sign other players. That’s the commentary I want to hear from Over The Cap but I don’t see it.

      3. Now that we all understand that Kwon Alexander’s new contract is actually a “team friendly” one, as it is essentially a series of one year prove-it deals, I’ll give you all what I consider to be the best way to evaluate the 49ers acquisition of Pro-Bowl ILB Kwon Alexander. I’ll make it a 3 part series for those of you who think I need to keep things a little shorter.

        PART 1 – the Bad: First, let’s look at his injury – the torn ACL he suffered week 6 of the 2018 season. I’d like to start by getting one thing straight …. players come back from ACL tears at a very high rate, some even better than ever, especially at this young age. He doesn’t turn 25 until August, so he is actually younger than Reuben Foster (or as I now call him – Reuben who?) who turns 25 next month. Is it a risk? Sure, but is it a big risk? Players are always at risk to injury, every time they step on the field, it’s a violent sport! Is it a risk that could pay off in a big way for this young defense? Absolutely! In fact, if it weren’t for his torn ACL, the 49ers would never have been able to sign him at such a low risk, team friendly contract. All indications are that his rehab is going very well, and I am confident that he will return to form early enough this season.

        Putting his injury aside, let me start by getting to the only real criticism I keep hearing out of the way right out of the gate …. Kwon’s missed tackles. Some people have looked at his number of recorded “missed tackles” and insist that this is proof that, at best, Alexanders tackling is a mixed bag, however it’s not as straightforward as some would suggest. Thanks to his instinctive ability to read and react, along with his rangy athleticism, a large number of his missed tackles are on plays he has no right to be close to, as he lunges after the likes of Tevin Coleman, Alvin Kamara and Taylor Gabriel on what would have to be considered low percentage tackle attempts. And the key here is that these attempts are not low percentage because of poor technique however, but because to somehow get close to plays and players when he simply should not.

        Now that I’ve cleared that up, Let’s get to the good stuff.

        PART 2 – The skill set, and how he fits:

        ShanaLynch have an obligation to, first and foremost, build a team capable of winning their division. Some fans would be content with a wild card berth, but I want the 49ers to regain control of the NFC WEST, and that gets me to my first point – it’s evident on tape that Alexander has the athleticism of the NFL’s newest breed of smaller, more athletic ILB’s, although he’s really not that small. I’ve used Robert Saleh’s former protegé – the Jag’s Telvin Smith, as a prime example of the kind of WILL linebacker the 49ers were looking for to line up next to their promising young MIKE linebacker, Fred Warner. Of course, the 49ers want their ILB’s to be, more or less, interchangeable, and Alexander is exactly the kind of interchangeable ILB capable of handling the mobility of Russell Wilson (and perhaps Kyler Murray), and Alexander absolutely fits the bill! In fact, Alexander has all of the requisite tools to handle all of Saleh’s ILB assignments, but his athleticism seems to be a perfect fit at WILL linebacker , whether that is as a cover man, run stopper, blitzer, or a QB spy, and there is more than enough game film showing Alexander making the types of plays he’ll be asked to make on a consistent basis for the 49ers, and his skill set is directly translatable to what the 49ers will be asking him to do, which is by far the most important aspect of any player evaluation.

        I’ll cover Kwon Alexander’s character, and leadership in PART 3, coming soon!

  19. Keep in mind that it was a 2020 2nd round pick which would equal a 2019 3rd round pick. That is a very reasonable draft pick value for a player who was one of the best pass rushers in the league last year.

  20. Some folks are pissed off that the 49ers “missed” on Odell Beckham Jr. I’m glad they missed. The Browns severely overpaid for OBJ (1st, 3rd, and a quality player in Peppers – former 1st rounder).

    To those who are pissed off – how much and who would you have liked the 49ers to give up for OBJ? Think about it.

    1. Those same critics crying about OBJ complain that Lynch signed “injury prone” Kwon Alexander. But OBJ has missed 16 of last 32 games…and the Giants were ready to move on just months after giving him a big payday. Could it be that Beckham got his payday and coasted or got an attitude that was detrimental to the team? The Giants clearly did not want to continue with him in his prime. How do you explain them absorbing all that dead cap space?

    2. Thomas!

      Kidding, as I would not have given up that kind of capital for a guy who will be difficult to manage.

  21. Grant….

    Here’s a sure money-maker. Stand-up a web-based fan opinion service–NFL centric at first. Have a series of polls running, driven by day-to-day and long-term league-wide and franchise-specific matters. Break down the results of those polls and sell the expert analysis ‘products’ to anyone willing to pay–media, teams, agents, etc.

    Talk about a cash cow. Since fan opinion (feelings, reactions, emotions, solutions) is very powerful, and most would say fan thinking is far superior to any coach or GM past or present, fan poll products would be in huge demand. Basing football decisions on fan input would greatly improve on-the-field results.

    Buddy Ryan once said “If you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting up there with them.” Don’t believe it, it’s Buddy BS.

    A fan opinion service. Needs a name and a few investors. Quick, someone kick this thing off in time for training camp.

  22. Thomas to the Ravens for four years $55 million with $32 million guaranteed. $22 million in the first nine months.

  23. Ravens signed Mark to a nice 3 years 15 million deal and Earl Thomas to 4 years 55 million. headline will either be they made a push but wasn’t enough or wasn’t interested in Thomas. I don’t really care which safety’s they sign but Thomas was suppose to be the guy cause he knows our defense right and we have Sherman. Mark could of helped our team in the red zone while Jerrick caught the passes on 3rd down.

    But we signed Kwon to 52.5 million and Dee to 87.5 million along with a 2nd round pick to the Chiefs and resigned a suspended long snapper to 4 years which is his second time being suspended.

  24. I wonder if the plan is to draft Quinan Williams and have with Def Buckner two unblockable defensive tackles disrupting the middle ala the Rams last season? Dee Ford would be swinging around the end along with some other pass rusher. Pretty awesome. Now if the Niners could add an offense that could put up scores instead of field goals then that would be a team that would scare the crap out of the league.

  25. Unca Buck likes the Ford signing:

    DeForest Buckner

    QBs are going to have problems 👏🏾 #GoNiners

    10:12 PM – Mar 12, 2019

  26. Ford is a quality player who is better than the current players on the roster. It’s a good trade I think, especially considering the 49ers didn’t give up anything in this years draft. The part I find interesting is what impact will the trade for Dee Ford have on this years draft. 2 major questions:

    1. Does Ford’s signing change the strategy for the #2 pick. Will the 49ers still go after Bosa or Allen or does this allow them to target a player they might think is better like Quinnen Williams.

    2. Does Ford signing motivate the 49ers to work harder on trading out of the #2 pick in order to pick up additional picks in the 2020 draft to compensate for giving up their 2020 second round pick.

    Will be an exciting draft this year.

  27. So a player in his mid 20’s who averages around 11 sacks a season (prorating his injury year) for the past 3 years is only worth a 3rd?
    Pshh good luck finding that deal… might as well say Von Miller was only worth a second rounder.

    The chiefs run a traditional 4-3 not the Seattle version nor do they employ the wide 9, so he would need to be a standard DE. Here he fits in the base as a SAM and in sub packages as a wide 9 DE both of which should fit his skill set.

    As to the contract it’s not that crazy for one of the NFL’s best pass rushers… I expect the contract will also have several out clauses which should give him plenty of motivation to perform.

    The best part is it’s not even this years second, next years pick will almost certainly be worse. Additionally, The niners could easily recoup it with a slight trade back.

            1. That’s still light for hand on the ground DL. Hate to open an old wound but when you have a few minutes, watch what Trent Brown did to him in the SB. Ugly.

  28. Looks like Redskins released ILB Zach Brown, who is better and probably would of been cheaper than Kwon. Brown also made 1 pro bowl.

    1. Same thing happened last year. The 49ers raced to sign Weston Richburg just a few days before Mike Pouncey became available. Oops!

  29. While I agree with the overall grade, but your premise that the trade was a semi-panick move is simply false. Reports stated that the 49ers and Packers were inquiring about Ford before free agency had begun, then another report came out that the 49ers and Packers were going to wait until the first wave of free agency was over before restarting any discussions with the Chiefs. These reports show the trade for Ford was not done in any style of panic.

    1. I understand the 49ers were inquiring about Ford. Once Beckham was off the table, I suspect they semi-panicked and pulled the trigger on Ford because they were afraid of winding up with nothing. We’ll see if the 49ers regret giving up that pick and signing Ford for all that money.

  30. There is no joy in Mudville. Miserableness reigns, all hope is lost.
    We’re clucked, double ducked, and our goose is cooked. It’s fried; we’re toast.
    WHAT arewegoingto DO?
    What a world, what a world……….😱

      1. As the Chevy gearheads used to say, Fix Or Repair Daily (remember those halcyon days of US automaker fanboys?). Going by his name, the guy will be spending a lot of time in the training room. At least we didn’t sign a Fix It Again Tony.

          1. If you’re in too
            Losing control and running into crowds of people.
            Then get down to your Ford Mustang dealer today.

  31. Now is anyone REALLY surprised that the village idiot wouldn’t give this pickup a good grade? One of you had a better chance of the Niners hiring you on as special consultant to Shanahan, than for him to give them any credit for doing something good…Fact is he played in a defense at Auburn that featured the wide 9 alignment, which is what the team will be going to this upcoming season. He won’t be asked to drop in coverage over 100 times next year, and his run defense…when healthy isn’t that bad. His pass rushing ability far outweighs his less than amazing ability to stop the run. This addition also gives the team more flexibility in the draft. Whereas he was trying to be funny with the trade down mock draft, it’s now a realistic option. The team could now trade back with the NY Giants for the #6 and #17 picks in the first round and maybe an extra 3rd or 4th. Take a Burns or Greedy at 6, and a Polite or White at 17.

  32. Not signing Earl Thomas was the best move they didn’t make. OBJ is a head case and Kyle doesn’t dig head cases, which is why AB was never coming to the Niners, in spite of his obvious talent.

    The carnival is closed boys and girls.

    Keep your eyes on tiers 2 and 3 in FA, that’s where the Niners will dip into the talent pool next.

    1. Love Verrett’s ability. But can you picture Grant’s head exploding over the signing of injury prone Verrett?

          1. The red one from yesterday is not from the Gap Outlet. I’ve seen that exact sweater at most Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.😃

              1. Yup my wife does it all the time, we find some great stuff in there.

                Oh hey you guys have a wedding date yet?

              2. Nice! My wife and I love Sonoma. Awesome, man, congrats again.

                …..and I’d say you’re at least pushing 155

              3. No, but the honeymoon has to wait until 2020, because training camp starts five days after my wedding.

              4. >>No, but the honeymoon has to wait until 2020, because training camp starts five days after my wedding.

                And she’s good with that? Lucky man.

  33. @Rob_Lowder
    Dee Ford had @PFF’s No. 1 pass-rush grade (91.0) and most total QB pressures among edge rushers (78) in 2018. Here’s all 13 of his sacks last season:
    (🎥: @NFL) #49ers

    8:38 AM – Mar 9, 2019

  34. Chris Biderman
    Worth mentioning the 49ers got a good look at Nasir Adderley at the Senior Bowl.
    10:27 AM – Mar 13, 2019

    Delaware DB Nasir Adderley is related to Hall of Famer Herb Adderley.

  35. If the Arizona Cardinals, who own the No. 1 pick in the draft, select Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa, that leaves the Niners with two logical options — to try to trade down in the draft, or to draft Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams or Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen…

    Taking Williams would be much more beneficial for the team than drafting Allen. Williams is a generational talent, and would make the 49ers’ defensive line that much better. Allen would fill a need (other edge rusher), but has a high bust potential and is not worth taking with the No. 2 pick.

    If the 49ers end up in this position, drafting Williams now is less concerning, since the team now has a player who can rush the passer from the edge.

    However, if the Cardinals skip out on Bosa to take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first pick, things get interesting. San Francisco would have both Nick Bosa and Josh Allen on the table, and I am sure that most fans would clamor for Bosa in this situation, seeing how he is generally regarded as the top talent in this position of need.

    The Jets would most likely take Bosa, and the 49ers would end up with Williams and a lot more picks in this year’s draft, especially since they currently only have six picks this year and desperately need more.

    The overall point is that this Ford trade gives the team a lot more flexibility in the draft, takes some pressure off general manager John Lynch and opens the window for a lot more win-win situations for the team.

  36. I am absolutely delighted at getting Dee Ford over OBJ . OBJ had the smell of T.O. type of drama ruminating all over again. I don’t have faith in this staff they’d be able to handle OBJ. I do have one question can a style of defense be used where Dee Ford plays …. the Elephant position? Woulld it help him transition better? Or am I completely off the mark here?

  37. Man… Being a huge 49er fan hurts seeing so many fans that buy writer hype and trash their own team. Its not your money! You like your house, right? You bought it and nobody should tell you that you paid too much… especially with the market dictating that. Look, everyone trashed Alexander deal, and Mosely (older & stat regression) signed $4mill more per year and guarenteed. And Mosely had a supporting cast. Alexander did not play with a good defense, ever at TB. Best part is 9ers can part ways next year and only have $3mill in dead money. They can waive him next year and only have $3mill in dead money. Silly rabbits, California taxes will always mean offering higher comtracts than other states…. if he sucked, wont be the case. Dee Ford…. I mean damn, he was creating havoc last year off the edge and really honed his craft… I thought the Ravens Edge LB got way over paid, but hey? It is what it is…. Mack wouldve received 25 mill a year in this market.Just feel us 9er fans need to keep going with Lynch/Shanahan and not doubt. They have a big picture they see and this is year 3. If no playoffs this year, cast away… but last year was dictated by injuries and youth, not bad GM or coaching.

  38. Hahaha-misinformed again are we Grant. Although I sided with you on the K.A. signing. I will say you are wrong on this one. He will play the LEO and what the coaches told him, he will attack the O, he will not have responsibility of being assigned someone. Makes a huge difference even in run support. All this talk about 3-4 and not a 4-3 fit is funny, since the niners 4-3 is more hybrid, much like when the niners had Charles Haley. Plus people are so misinformed or jumped silly info. He had a good year in 2016 with 10 sacks before a setback in 2017 due to an injury. So 2018 is not an anomaly. If he had not gotten injured, good chance of double digits sacks in 2017 and chances are we would not have had a chance at him. That is hindsight. Plus he forced 7 turnovers, which is even better than a sack. He is a good signing. Team him with another pass rusher in the draft and Buckner-the pass defense has gotten that much better and all those one possession losses go the other way.

  39. Grant, no need to be snarky….

    Couple of your contemporaries on 49er Web Zone gave this acquisition an A and a B (still waiting on details of contract).

    They must just be fans too.

    Like Kwon, contract headlines can be misleading. Let’s see.

    Now, if Ford is a bust, I’m sure you’ll remind everyone of this story. Would like to think if he is a success, you’ll admit deep down you’re a Shanny and Lynch hater.

  40. I’m a fan of the acquisition because the Niners need some certainty that they can get a rush during the first game of 2019.

    And, nobody gets to the Super Bowl without more than a couple players who are within the top 5 of their respective positions; and Buckner and Kittle are the only two that I would argue could be a top five. Ford is a top five edge.

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