49ers create more cap space with Dee Ford restructure

Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Needing to get under the salary cap by the March 16 deadline, the 49ers elected to rework EDGE Dee Ford’s contract once again.

The San Francisco 49ers are still probably regretting that 2019 trade for EDGE Dee Ford, who has dealt with a number of significant injuries ever since joining the team in exchange for a second-round pick being sent off to the Kansas City Chiefs that year.

Either way, it’s been a challenge the Niners have had to absorb ever since, and entering the 2022 offseason was no different.

Ford, who missed all but one game in 2020 and managed to get on the field for six games in 2021, carried an uncertain future entering 2022 after aggravating a serious back injury. Yet San Francisco couldn’t simply released the soon-to-be 31-year-old veteran, as he wouldn’t have been able to pass a physical, and it would have cost $14.4 million in dead money to do so, according to Over the Cap.

Sure, the 49ers could have waited until June 1, provided he could pass that physical, yet that would only generate $2.4 million in cap savings against $9.5 million in dead money, prompting the idea it still might be worth trying to keep Ford around one more year.

Yet the Niners had to get underneath the $208.2 million salary cap by the start of the league new year on March 16, so waiting until June 1 didn’t appear to be an option.

49erscap.com’s Jason Hurley prompted the idea of a pay cut, which frees up the $4.96 million, and it likely ensures Ford will be on the roster this season regardless now.

49ers banking on Dee Ford to get healthy again?

Ford’s tenure with San Francisco has been frustrating, no doubting that. In 2019, his lone “healthy” season with the team, he nevertheless saw only 34 percent of all defensive snaps over 11 games yet still managed 6.5 sacks and helped prompt a very formidable pass rush that year.

In 2020, though, that back injury limited Ford to only 46 snaps, whereas he had only 106 snaps last season but managed to tack on three sacks regardless.

The 2022 offseason market for pass-rushers is a good one, both via free agency and the NFL Draft, yet the 49ers may be financially limited in going after a free-agent option this offseason, and there’s always the uncertainty of landing a quality option on the draft.

As long as the Niners are looking for someone to pair with Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa, Ford could still be in play as long as he’s able to stay healthy.

That’s been a massive challenge, though.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 worst trades in franchise history. dark