Why Dee Ford trade makes sense for 49ers, but Odell Beckham deal didn't


The New York Giants maintained for weeks that three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was not signed to a lucrative extension in August to trade him just a few months later.

But the Cleveland Browns made the Giants an offer they could not refuse, delivering a bounty for his rights through the 2023 season. And all indications are that the 49ers were not willing to part ways with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to acquire Beckham.

The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, placed the franchise tag on edge rusher Dee Ford last week. The intention was to trade him.

The price was right for the 49ers, who kept all of their 2019 draft picks to fill their biggest need with the best available player to get after the quarterback. Completion of the trade Tuesday night was contingent on working out the details of a contract extension with the 49ers.

Those details were hammered out with a five-year, $87.5 million agreement, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported.

Ford was one of four edge rushers who was tagged as a franchise player. His one-year salary as an outside linebacker was scheduled to be $15.443 million. The non-exclusive tag means other teams were allowed to negotiate with Ford and sign him to an offer sheet. The price tag for signing a franchise player is two first-round draft picks.

But the Chiefs settled for far less from the 49ers to dump his salary.


Ford, 27, was a first-round pick of the Chiefs in 2014. He had a breakout season in 2016 with 10 sacks before struggling with back issues in 2017 and appearing in just six games.

But Ford bounced back strong in 2018, recording 13 sacks and 55 tackles in 16 games. His season set him up for a big pay day after playing last season on the fifth-year option at $8,7 million.

The key to the 49ers’ willingness to work with the Chiefs and not the Giants is obvious. The 49ers did not have to touch their No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Giants got what they wanted from the Browns -- the No. 17 overall pick -- while not parting with their selection at No. 6. The Giants also were able to pick up a third-round pick this year, as well as fill a need at safety. The Browns sent safety Jabrill Peppers to the Giants, who lost Landon Collins as a free agent to Washington on Monday.

The 49ers have more than one hole to fill, so it was important for them to hold onto as many of their draft picks as possible. And after acquiring Ford, they still have more work to do to improve their pass rush.

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The No. 2 overall pick is likely to bring more help for the defense after the club agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander on Monday.

The most logical options for the 49ers is to complement Ford and DeForest Buckner with one of two edge-rushing prospects -- Nick Bosa or Josh Allen.