In a blockbuster trade Tuesday, the Chiefs agreed to send Ford, a five-year veteran, to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick, a source confirmed to The Athletic.
The 49ers will sign Ford to an extension worth $87.5 million over five years. 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 entered the offseason looking for a premium edge rusher. But they had questions about how he'd fit in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense and made a decision to trade him instead of paying him $15.4 million for this season.
The Seahawks-style scheme employed by coordinator Robert Saleh doesn't blitz very often by design, making it imperative the defensive line can generate pressure with just four pass rushers.
News of Alexander's signing was first reported on Monday by both Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and Pro Football Talk.
Moving Ford seemed inevitable after the Chiefs chose to switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. He has recorded 380 combined tackles, seven sacks, 22 passes defensed, six interceptions, a touchdown, and six forced fumbles through his four National Football League seasons. Ford recorded 51 total tackles and 13 sacks in 2018, matching a career high set in 2016.
The other question is where Ford will fit in San Francisco's defense. The 49ers don't have "Leo" or "Sam" monikers for defensive ends in those groupings.
The 49ers also use a 4-3 defense, and it isn't clear where they plan to play Ford. 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.
This trade is huge for the 49ers because it solves a long-term need for the team, and frees up some more opportunities for the team to make during the 2019 NFL Draft.
Ford's struggles against the run shouldn't matter much.