3 Most Likely Dee Ford Free Agent Destinations
Defensive end Dee Ford's time spent playing for the San Francisco 49ers is all but up. The 31-year-old has failed to live up to expectations since being acquired via trade in 2019 due to various injuries and ailments. The news of his impending release by the team should come as no real surprise.
Ford has shown that he can be a disruptor when fully healthy and that upside should draw some interest from other NFL squads. After all, he has racked up double-digits sacks twice in his career. With that in mind, here's a look at three of the most likely free agent destinations for Ford.
Dee Ford Free Agency
1. Atlanta Falcons
It's not hard to tell that the Falcons had one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL last season. Atlanta finished with just 18.0 sacks on the season (No. 32 in NFL) and only one player on the roster finished with more than 2.0. That was Dante Fowler, who is no longer under contract with the team. In fact, the only pass rusher the Falcons signed in free agency was Lorenzo Carter. Adding Ford to the mix would give the Falcons a much-needed high-upside player assuming he can stay healthy. He has only played in seven games since the start of the 2020 season. Bringing him in for next to nothing would come with little downside for Atlanta, though.
2. Houston Texans
Another team bogged down by an inefficient pass rushing unit in 2021 was the Houston Texans. They finished with the fifth-lowest pressure percentage in the NFL (20.7%) and racked up only 32.0 sacks as a team (T-No. 26 in NFL). Houston is clearly in the midst of a rebuild and Ford has all the makings of a reclamation project worth taking on. The eight-year pro forced a league-leading 7 fumbles in 2018 and finished the year with 13.0 sacks. No one truly knows if he can get back to that point, but there's no reason the Texans shouldn't give him an opportunity to. Pairing Ford with Jonathan Greenard would give new head coach Lovie Smith an exciting duo.
3. New York Jets
Despite finishing with the seventh-fewest quarterback pressures in the NFL last season, the New York Jets have done nothing to address the defensive line this offseason. While Carl Lawson is locked into one of the edge spots, the other one remains up for grabs. Ford brings a lot of experience to the table and could mentor what is a young roster in New York. He has been to a Pro Bowl and could be a great rotational player at the very least. The Jets need to improve their pass rushing unit (33.0 sacks in 2021) in one way or another if they want any shot of competing in the AFC East moving forward.
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