Why 49ers might trade Dee Ford to make room for George Kittle extension

Why 49ers might trade Dee Ford to make room for George Kittle extension

Dee Ford was an instrumental part of the 49ers’ dominant defensive line in 2019. Ford collected 6.5 sacks and forced two fumbles as San Francisco’s front seven fueled a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

But with a massive contract extension expected for All-Pro tight end George Kittle and the significant payday already extended to Arik Armstead this offseason, the Niners’ front office is facing some potential salary cap constraints.

Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski posed that one solution for the 49ers could be to find a trade partner for Ford and his $15.8 million 2020 cap hit.

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San Francisco currently has $15.7 million in available cap space, but Kittle and this year’s rookie class remain unsigned. Spotrac estimates that the five-player 2020 draft class will account for just over $7 million in cap space.

Kittle’s agent has remained steadfast in his belief that his client shouldn’t be viewed as a tight end in negotiations, likely meaning he will be seeking well over $10 million per season. Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers currently is the NFL’s highest-paid tight end at a $10.6 million base salary for 2020.

[RELATED: Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL]

Ford did experience some injury troubles during the 2019 season, missing most of training camp and several games late in the season with knee and hamstring issues.

The 49ers traded a 2020 second-round pick last March to acquire and then sign Ford to a five-year, $87.5 million contract extension. 

If San Francisco could work out a deal to trade Ford, it would greatly diminish the front office’s cap troubles. But Ford’s talent is no joke, as he led the NFL with seven forced fumbles during his last fully healthy season in 2018.

Obviously Kittle’s extension needs to be the 49ers’ top priority, but trading Ford might be the cost to awarding the tight end a record-breaking new deal.

Watch 49ers' George Kittle bench press a ridiculous amount in workout

Watch 49ers' George Kittle bench press a ridiculous amount in workout

If you want to know how strong George Kittle is, you can just ask Marcus Williams.

If you don't have the ability to contact an NFL safety and/or don't want to troll one on social media while trying to do so, you can just watch this video of the 49ers tight end bench-pressing a ridiculous amount of weight courtesy of trainer Josh Cuthbert.

That's five plates on each side of the bar, which Cuthbert said in a comment on his post added up to 375 pounds.

So, Kittle could bench press new 49ers left tackle Trent Williams' listed weight on the team website ... and still have 55 pounds to work with.

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Cuthbert conspiculously included the hashtag #PayGeorgeKittle, referring to the star tight end's contract extension negotiations with the 49ers. Kittle didn't share that post on his Instagram story, which shouldn't be much of a surprise considering his prior comments about not wanting to hold out.

“Being a captain, I want to be there for my team and I need to show the right leadership skills,” Kittle said.

Even if Kittle did hold out, it'd be hard to argue against the example that video would set from a distance.

[RELATED: Taylor shows off muscles, gets roasted by 49ers teammates]

It's not clear if Kittle and the 49ers will agree to a contract extension before training camp is scheduled to begin later this month. NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported last month that the two sides haven't appeared to make much progress.

If and when Kittle reaches an agreement with the 49ers, they'll know he pretty easily could bench-press the table it's signed upon.

49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

The 49ers love to rip on one another, and no player's Instagram posts are safe.

Exhibit No. 4,949 (give or take)? Trent Taylor's thirst trap Instagram photo from earlier this week.

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Stache Gainz (early stages)

A post shared by Trent Nelson Taylor (@trent5taylor) on

Based on the picture above, you surely know what followed.

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Taylor didn't play a single game in 2019, missing all of the season due to complications with his injured foot. You wouldn't know that reading the comments, though.

The 26-year-old slot receiver was a fixture at the 49ers' player-organized workouts earlier in the offseason, rebuilding a connection with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that was so strong in 2017. Taylor could play a big role this season, considering Deebo Samuel and Richie James' offseason injuries.

[RELATED: What Garrett's reported extension means for Bosa, 49ers]

The 49ers hope Taylor can reach his 2017 level, and some big performances surely would lead to more Instagram posts.

That, more than anything, might be why his teammates want to see Taylor succeed.