KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford turned in a career season in 2018, increasing the likelihood the Chiefs may utilize the franchise tag on the 27-year-old linebacker if they can't reach agreement on an extension, and that's fine with Ford for now.
“If somebody offers you $20 million would you take it?” Ford asked Monday. “That's a no-brainer right there, dog.”
The franchise tag for an outside linebacker in 2019 projects to around $15.6 million, according to former sports agent Joel Corry, but it makes Ford's point. The No. 23 selection in the 2014 drafte turned in a career year in a contact season, racking up personal bests with 13 sacks, 55 total tackles, 29 quarterback hits and seven forced fumbles. A Pro Bowler for the first time in his five seasons, Ford feels he's emerged as someone who can make impact plays on defense.
“That's what you need, a complete outside linebacker,” Ford said. “That's hard to do, being able to rush the passer, stop the run and cover when we need it in pass coverage.”
Earning Pro Bowl honor this season was a significant achievement for Ford.
"That was very important for me, very important for me," Ford explained. "Like I said, me individually, that's what I wanted for myself, but the more that I do for myself, the more I do for this team, and that's what it 's all about."
Whether Ford returns to Kansas City for one more season or lands a new long-term deal with the Chiefs or elsewhere, he feels he's done all he can to make his case.
“I just know I put myself in a good position, that's all I can do,” Ford said. “Put my self in the best position and the rest will take care of itself. You can't try to be your own agent and try to figure it out. That's not how it works.”
Ford believes the more the Chiefs accomplish as a team, the more doors it opens for him in the offseason.
"I just know that there will be an opportunity and if I’m on whatever team, you’re going to know what I’m bringing at the end of the day," Ford said. "That’s what I’m focusing on, what I’m bringing. That’s so far away, I’m a present mind type of guy.”