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49ers trade for Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford



© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have agreed to the deal that many fans hoped would come.

The 49ers have agreed to trade their 2020 second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for edge rusher Dee Ford, the team has announced.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that the deal is for five years, $87.5 million.

Earlier this month, the Chiefs applied the franchise tag to Ford, but they have been open to trading him for the right price. They have reportedly sought a second-round pick in exchange for the 27-year-old. The 49ers have managed to give up their 2020 second-rounder, while preserving the No. 36 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

After an inconsistent four-year stretch to start his career, Ford amassed a career-high 13 sacks in 2018, tied for the eighth-most in the NFL. He led the league with seven forced fumbles in his first Pro Bowl campaign.

Last season, the 49ers set new all-time NFL lows with seven turnovers and two interceptions. The most traceable reason for those paltry numbers was their lack of pass rush. Their leading edge rusher was Cassius Marsh, who recorded 5.5 sacks in 2018. The 49ers tallied just 14 total sacks from their edge rushers this past season.

Kansas City’s defensive scheme change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 was a key reason why the team shopped Ford. The 49ers also deploy a 4-3 scheme that would likely feature Ford as the LEO, or weakside edge rusher. He played in a 4-3 during his college career at Auburn. He amassed 10.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss during his senior year.

It will be interesting to see how Ford affects San Francisco’s draft plans. It has long been believed that the 49ers would select an edge rusher with the No. 2 overall pick. If the Arizona Cardinals use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback, the 49ers would have access to Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, considered the draft’s top prospect. If the Cardinals select Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Florida State’s Brian Burns are quality options for San Francisco.

The 49ers may still choose to select an EDGE, but for now, they have seriously improved at the position.