KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Chiefs have linebacker Dee Ford in the fold for the 2018 season, exercising the fifth-year option of the rookie contract for the 2014 first-round pick.
“That was a no-brainer decision,” general manager John Dorsey said in a conference call Monday. “We had known all along we were going to exercise the option.”
Ford totaled 15.5 sacks and 49 tackles in his first three NFL seasons in 45 career games. He picked up 10 of those sacks and 25 tackles last season, his first year as a full-time starter.
A hamstring injury against Tampa Bay in week 11 played a part in derailing what looked to be a breakthrough season for Ford. He picked up zero sacks with just 3 tackles in the final six weeks of the season. He picked up a sack and a tackle in the divisional playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
Dorsey said he wants to see Ford continue maturing as a player and consistently demonstrate the playmaking abilities he demonstrated at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 seasons.
“I want to be able to see him play all 16 games at the level he played at early on,” Dorsey said. “That will be nothing but a positive for us. And I think he’s willing to do that.”
The general manager said Ford worked with pass-rushing specialists this offseason to improve his ability to get to the quarterback.
The Chiefs had until May 3 to officially pick up the option. Ford’s salary for the 2018 season will be $8.718 million, according to analyst Joel Corry of CBS Sports.
Dorsey said the wait did not show any hesitation on the part of the club.
“I just wanted to prudently think about it, Dorsey said. “I wanted to have this morning to assess the situation and just kind of see how we turned out in the draft. I think Dee has a fine future with this organization.”
The Chiefs also exercised the fifth-year option for 2013 No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher on Monday following the NFL draft. The Chiefs opened training camp in July by signing Fisher to a four-year extension that reduced his cap hit for the fifth year by more than $1.5 million.