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Trading for Dee Ford Is a No-Brainer

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Trading for Dee Ford Is a No-Brainer

Multiple reports are indicating the Packers have expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford. More specifically, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted on Tuesday that it could take only a second round pick for the Chiefs to part ways with Ford. They recently franchised the soon to be 28-year-old outside linebacker to the tune of $15.4 million. 

Surprisingly, Kansas City appears willing to part ways with a player that just gave them a team-leading 13 sacks citing a switch from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 as the main reason. If that’s the case, Ford should fit right in with Mike Pettine in Green Bay. Pettine runs a flexible system that doesn’t necessarily favor a certain scheme, however, he does emphasize getting after the quarterback. Something the Packers were unable to do consistently as a team in 2018.

Ford can certainly help in that facet as he’s coming off a year in which he finished fifth in the league with 29 QB hits. It would be hard to surrender pick number 44, but receiving a Pro-Bowl pass rusher is worth it over the uncertainties of a rookie. Especially considering the Packers starting edge rushers are Nick Perry and Kyler Fackrell at the moment. 

Some people have drawn comparisons from Ford’s predicament to that of Perry’s circa 2017. Short on pass rush, Green Bay signed Perry to a five-year $60 million-dollar deal following his 11-sack season. It certainly feels like the Chiefs are trying to avoid paying out a lucrative contract to a player that they believe hasn’t quite earned it. 

2018 was not Ford’s only good season, though, seeing that he recorded 10 sacks in 2016. The biggest cause for concern is that in 2017 he missed over half the season with a back injury that later required surgery. 

Although, Ford returned to full-form playing 87% of the defensive snaps last year. Really, comparing Perry’s and Ford’s careers is somewhat of a lazy take. Perry has missed significantly more time due to injury and has yet to play a 16-game season. He’s also only hit 10 sacks once in his seven years and his career-high for QB hits is 16. 

It would be very hard to blame Green Bay if they are able to acquire Ford for their second rounder. For a team that has had trouble finding a quality starter in the second round in recent years, Ford is a safe bet.  



Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (54) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Dzehren's picture

This is best front 7 draft in many, many years. With Pick #44 GB could easily acquire an edge rusher (Chase Winovich, Oshane Ximines Jaylon Ferguson & combine dropper Polite to name a few).
These younger options obviously wouldn’t carry a 15M salary either. Third round compensation would be better.

Old School's picture

If Dee Ford does as much in the next three years as he did in the last three years....

He'll play in 36 out of 48 games. Compared to Perry's 32 out of 48.

He'll record 25 sacks. That's 8/season, or about .69 sacks/game Compared to Perry, who had 19 sacks in 32 games for .59 sacks/game.

And this is the part that you are REALLY not going to want to hear: For that extra 0.1 sacks for game, you're going to pay $15 million for one year....and then he'll be a UFA at the end of 2019 unless we work a multi-year deal for him.

And since you're getting rid of Perry, I'll remind you that we'll be paying him $11 million NOT to play for us.

Oh, btw....Ford is older, too. I don't mind the 2nd round pick in trade, since Ford is almost certainly better than anybody we could get with that pick. But if you think an extra little bit of pressure is worth that much money then we're going to have to disagree.

Bure9620's picture

Agree with this, Ford is good player, very solid vet, but not elite. Not worth $15 mil. He had a great year, but he has not been consistent in his career and there are injury concerns. There's a reason the Chiefs don't want to sign him long term. I would rather go Preston Smth, Za'Darius Smith for much less money and solid production and pressure. If we pay premium pass rush money, Tre Flowers is to me a better player anyway.

Coldworld's picture

Well I guess it’s not a no brainer then.

To be honest, the acquisition is attractive only if it comes with a cap friendly longer term deal. As a one year rental forget it.

I also disagree with the concept that it’s Ford (or A. N. Other for Perry. Ford and who? Ford and a high draft pick plus Fackrell? Well there is no depth before injuries.

If we want to be serious, Perry or another FA plus the draft pick are what we need. Since Perry’s discretionary spend is about $3 million (the rest being gone whatever), I suspect it’s Perry or a JAG. I’ll take Perry thanks.

Even with Perry, Ford and a high draft pick we will still need Donnerson, a rookie or Gilbert to show up as some sort of serviceable threat alongside Fackrell as a situational rusher to sustain a threat throughout the season. I truly hope the days of playing our rushers every snap are gone. This is a position requiring explosiveness. Rotation that is credible is critical.

Turophile's picture

I'll add more negativity to this.
" Ian Rapoport noted on Tuesday that it could take only a second round pick for the Chiefs to part ways with Ford. "

A second round pick could get you (for example) a Charles Omenihu in the draft, or a Chase Winovich, or maybe a Jaylon Ferguson, but more importantly, you could go edge early, then use that 2nd to fill in another position of real need, like safety or TE.

Given that Pettine gets pressure from places other than OLB, you could even go with DL for you pressure (drafting someone like Gary or Oliver or Wilkins). Same applies to generating pressure with top ILBs like Devin White or Devin Bush. You also save money (if you keep the 2nd rounder) by having another highly rated guy at the slotted rookie wage for several years.

At what point (for me) does the reward of getting Ford exceed the disadvantages, well, round 3 or better, round 4 would be acceptable. Even a round 4 this year and a third next year would be better than a 2.

So, big bucks and a 2nd rounder (maybe) for Ford. Taking the full cost into account, I'd say no. Without the draft cost I'd be interested, but i wouldn't want to give up a second this year.

CheesyTex's picture

It's not negativity when you are right on, and you are right on.

With Chiefs releasing Houston, he would be a much better bet -- no draft choices lost and less $ than Ford.

I'm probably dreaming -- With so many teams having much greater cap space than the Pack, it's unlikely any of these top guys will end up in G.B.

Tundraboy's picture

And after further thought that's exactly what my gut told me when I first heard this. Just not enough bang for the buck,and no sure thing either.

JonR005's picture

All of these "experts" weighing in and comparing his numbers to Nick Perry. Only issue is... Dee Ford played more of an anthony barr type role his first 1-2 years. He was more of a coverage player than a pass-rusher.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

#44 could also get you Jason Spriggs (okay, he went 48th, but close enough). Remember, the draft is a crap shoot.

Okay, I admit this draft class looks good to me, and deep. I covet #44 actually. I think we could land Irv Smith, Deebo, Paris, any of several OL I like.

I've got a different notion expressed below because I don't want to part with pick #44.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Pittsburg wanted a 1st round pick for Brown. They got a 3rd and a 5th round. Obviously it's a different situation. The point is what a team wants and what they are willing to settle for are often different. What pick would you give up for Ford? 3rd rounder?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Are you expecting logical consistency from me? Yes, I'd ship GB's 3rd to KC, maybe a 5th as well. Were I a KC fan, I'd probably want a 2nd. #44 is a pretty good pick this year, IMO, definitely should have a choice between players I'd put a 1st/2nd round grade on instead of a solid 2nd. $15M AAV would be acceptable on a 4 year deal.

I wish I had watched more than two KC games and known I should focus on Dee Ford. I am in the same boat with ZaDarius and Preston Smith, and Barrett. I just haven't watched their teams much less them. I watched some condensed games (Seattle, Giants, Chicago, MN, Ari) on youtube to look at safeties - Thomas, Collins, Amos, Anthony Harris and Boston.

Bearmeat's picture

This would be a significant upgrade for us IF he can genuinely be had for a 2nd round pick. If it's a 1st, plus a contract, that's harder.

The Chiefs have to get rid of him though... even if they use sub-packages 75% of the time, Ford won't have the power to play with his hand in the dirt.

That said, even if we get Ford, if Sweat falls to us at 12, or Polite is there at 30, I'd still pull the trigger if I were Gute.

dobber's picture

If the Packers do deal a #2 for Ford, then (if I'm BG) I would be looking even more strongly at moving down in round 1 for more picks if there's a good deal to be had. Maybe someone you can't pass up falls to #12, but there's plenty of depth at need positions for the Packers in this draft, and Ford then becomes your "high profile, I hope he's not Nick Perry 2.0" outside rusher.

Bearmeat's picture

Assuming this prospective deal goes through - a big if.... If Sweat were there at 12, I'd still take him. Otherwise, trade down and take Hock at 15ish.... and pass rusher at 30 again. There is a case to be made for keeping Perry too if he will take a huge paycut. But he probably won't, so I'd still cut him.

This also assumes we can get a FS upgrade in FA and an OG upgrade in FA as well. Otherwise those needs come to the fore too.

Coldworld's picture

I agree. Ford alone is not enough. If a true plus player falls, take him without hesitation. FS. will have to be FA. Rookies seldom succeed in that role, typically 3 years, so not likely to get a starter caliber in 2019 through the draft whatever the pick expended.

holmesmd's picture

Fant is better

xTHE_WEEx's picture

I respectfully disagree. Noah Fant's comparable is TE Dustin Keller (look at combine results, college stats, and watch videos of them). T.J. Hockenson's comparable is Dallas Clark. He's the all-around TE that would be a perfect fit for Matt LaFleur's offensive system.

Handsback's picture

You make 2 very good points. Ford is an upgrade at 2nd pick or below, but a first is highly debatable. Second is the Chiefs want something for him because he doesn't fit their new system. The longer Gutsy waits, the cheaper he gets unless another team swoops in and grabs him.

All that said....Polite at 30 would be tough to swallow. Maybe late 2nd early 3rd for a good draft selection for Polite.

Coldworld's picture

I wouldn’t touch him after the mental aspects at the combine before round 5. Given his performance athletically as well, might not touch him at all, but even overlooking that, unless he grows up fast he is not going to succeed on raw talent alone in the NFL. With that attitude huge questions are raised.

It seems he says the Packers went hard at him in the interview, that suggests they also have concerns over his mental makeup. Perhaps he satisfied them but as an outsider, I see only red flags.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Of course we do not know what really went on in the interviews but I am hoping the Pack do not take him in round one. My biggest hope is the Packers packages round 2 and possibly 3 to move up high in round 2 and select Simmons.

Minniman's picture

Simmons is going to be the Maurice Hurst of this year's draft

Jonathan Spader's picture

Hurst didn't go until round 5 due to the heart condition.

Minniman's picture

Yes that's my point Jonathan, that a top talent is sliding into later rounds. He played well as a rookie for Oakland - better than his draft position and will be great value for a team with the nous to pick him up anywhere from the second round onward.

pooch's picture

Chargers safety available???

Dzehren's picture

Jahleel Addae is 29 years old. Good box safety.

Coldworld's picture

We need FS not SS, and more than one in my view.

Old School's picture

Coldworld….We need a FS. No argument. Right now our starter is a 36 year old converted CB...meaning we have no starter.

At SS, or "box" as all the cool kids call it, we have Jones under contract. In two years he's been unable to beat out Kentrell Brice, our other "box".

I think we have critical needs at both safety spots. I also think that if we improved our safety situation, it improves our depth at CB because Tramon doesn't have to play safety. I also think that if you improve the coverage it gives the pass rush an extra beat to reach home.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture


Ferrari Driver's picture

Was last year.

ShooterMcGee's picture

I posted last week we should trade a 6th rounder for this guy. Instead we can sign him as a free agent without it figuring into the draft compensation formula for next year. A huge win win wombat.

Packer Fan's picture

It is all about what Kansas City wants in return. And the Pack will have to renegotiate Ford's salary for Ford has the franchise tag. And you can be it will be $15 mil. Ford doesn't fit the new defensive scheme in Kansas City. BG has to tread carefully. For he will have to still draft an edge rusher for the stable for edge rushers in Green Bay is bare. And he can't give away the store. If this deal happens, look for it to be redone before the start of free agency if they can get a deal with Ford done.

Minniman's picture

If the $$$ are OK then I wonder why not Justin Houston? He'll be around the $10-12Mill mark and won't cost picks in a high potential draft for the Packers to restock the front 7 from?

Swisch's picture

Although I like getting a guy who has already proven himself at a high level in the NFL, the huge price tag for Ford is a concern.
If he doesn't have the franchise tag of $15 million, is it realistic for the Packers to sign him at $10 million per year for three or four years?
If not, would it be better to try for Za'Darius Smith at about $10 million per year, along with an edge rusher or two in the draft?

AgrippaLII's picture

I don't like hearing that he has had a back injury/surgery in his past. One thing I'm fairly sure of is that if Gutekunst makes this deal and it's another bust like the Graham debacle...his career dissipation light will start blinking.

TheBigCheeze's picture

NO....NO.....AND....NO!!!!........this year's draft is LOADED with pass rushers....

PAPackerbacker's picture

Agreed. There is a lot of talented pass rushers in the draft. Better off to sign a FA safety.

Qoojo's picture

In other news, I read another story on D. Ford and the writer suggested giving up 2 first round picks for him, because "the packers have to do it".


I kind of like the idea of going after the 2 Smiths in FA, if reasonably priced, to build more depth, and keep Perry. Because in my mind, it's all about building quality depth for when a starter goes down, and recovering from TT's UDFA binge, along with drafting quality, and hopefully not missing so often in the early rounds.

stockholder's picture

No the Smiths are better. We trade KC the picks. They pick -up the Smiths. I believe KC would get the better deal .

ShooterMcGee's picture

If by no-brainer you mean stupid then I agree. Why trade draft picks + spend big money to sign him to a long term contract when we can simply sign a free agent without giving up any draft picks? It makes absolutely no sense.
This is similar to all those that argued for trading a 1st round pick for Antonio Brown. Luckily a professional GM is at the helm and not any of us knuckleheads.

Coldworld's picture

He doesn’t have the character questions Brown poses. He is moving on in part because of a change in system. He has experience and has consistently performed and is still young.

To play devil’s advocate, one could argue that he seems like a prime FA. Those in the draft have only potential. There is always a risk it never translates to the NFL. That increases risk. Ford’s record decreases it and so raises cost.

I’ve noted earlier that I’m on the fence. I think we need two FAs at OLB plus a high draft pick. Ford’s cost might prevent that given that we need a FA FS of starting caliber too in my view at a minimum. Ford is though, assuming a new contract could be concluded, seemingly a true upgrade with the potential to see out a longer contract before age impacts. I’d seriously look. I don’t think a second round pick is necessarily too much ( a first is) given that we have two first rounders, but not at the cost of sacrifing safety and other FA options.

jyros's picture

Not gonna happen! We already got two.

PackerfanAuggie15's picture

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PackerfanAuggie15's picture


PackerfanAuggie15's picture

A second round pick and 15 mil for a one year rental, certainly no one with a brain would suggest that...

Old School's picture

Suggesting is one thing. But doing it is different. As Hyde famously said to Kelson "You gotta think, man".

What if he gets hurt? What if he gives us 9 games for that $15 million? And then he's gone after the season?

What if he has another 10+ sack season and then wants $20 million a year over 4 years to resign?

Best case scenario is he stays healthy all year, has a real good season, loves Green Bay and resigns a long-term, team friendly deal. He remains healthy and productive for the duration of the deal.

So if that's the way you look at it, then it's a no-brainer. But if you start acknowledging the potential down-side scenarios, it's not as much of a no-brainer, really.

dobber's picture

You don't trade for him unless you have an agreement in principle for some kind of extension.

Yes, dealing for him without that extension would be stupid.

sam1's picture

With all the no brainers this column always has for the Packers we should have about 4 Packer teams by now, and the no brainer trades never often seem to happen!

ILPackerBacker's picture

No brain is the catch phrase for many of the bloggers here

ShooterMcGee's picture

i would give up a 5th or 6th round pick for him. Play him for 1 year then let him walk in free agency. We then will receive a 3rd round pick in 2021 as compensation. This is the New England/LA Rams rent a player model. It seems to work rather well.

Dzehren's picture


Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Consider slipping KC a 6th rounder for Houston. KC has about $9M in cap space, and a good starting DT in Bailey and an adequate starting CB in Stephen Nelson (Sportrac estimated value of $10M) who are free agents. They also have to sign their draft class. KC won't wait to dump Ford or Houston to get their guys re-signed or dabble in free agency.

Houston comes with $15M and $17.5M cap hits, but none is guaranteed. With a trade he'd be under contract but perhaps if we wanted we could negotiate a three year deal with a modest signing bonus and some modest guaranteed money (he has no guaranteed money now). If KC indeed releases him as is rumored, he'd be a UFA and certainly would get a signing bonus and more guaranteed money.

At worst he'd be a one year, $15M rental for a 6th just on the trade. Maybe we could work out a 3 year, $40M deal with little to no dead money in the third year.

$9M signing bonus? $7M base/roster bonus, $400K workout, $600K game active = $11M cap. $13.5M cap in 2020 and a $15.5M cap number in 2021. 1 yr., $17M cash, $6M dead, 2 year, $27.5M cash with $3M dead, 3 yr/$40M for all three years, no dead obviously.

Either way, Houston is a complete OLB who is aged 30. Probably has two to three years left in the tank. PFF grade of 85.7, 14th best edge in 2018. Assuming we draft an OLB, Houston could show them the ropes. Whatever red flags he had that caused hm to drop in the draft years ago haven't cropped up since, as far as I know.

blacke00's picture

If you want to give up our extra 4th and 6th round picks I would say it. But nothing more than that. $15 million is a lot of change that can be used elsewhere.

To paraphrase a former president.."Must be prudent"

mrtundra's picture

I say no to Ford. This is especially true since KCC just cut LB Justin Houston. Yes, Houston is older than Ford but will come at a much cheaper price AND we won't have to give up a draft pick to get him, like we would with Ford. We'd get veteran leadership at Pass Rusher and get a guy who will disrupt the opponent's QB and backfield on a regular basis. He's better than Perry is, so let's take a look!

LeagueObsrvr's picture

I'd rather have Houston than Ford. Houston is a better run defender.

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