Dee Ford is an unrestricted Free Agent in 2019 and had a monster year in his contract year. He is the Edge Rusher that the Niners have been needing ever since Charles Haley left the Niners in 1991. Yes, it has been 27 long years since the Niners had an impact pass rusher.
How good was Ford’s 2018 season?
- He had a league leading 11 QB pressures that directly resulted in turnovers. Putting it another way, the entire Niners defense totaled 7 turnovers and Dee had 11 by himself.
- Ford’s strip sack of Andrew Luck in the 3rd quarter of yesterday’s playoff game took just 2.54 seconds, the fastest yet of this year’s playoff games.
- When the Niners played the Chiefs this year, Ford had 7 QB pressures that resulted in 2 sacks and 5 hurries.
- Dee finished the year with 13 sacks and 46 hurries along with his 11 forced turnovers.
That, my friends, is what is called a monster year in his contract year and he will be commanding a huge payday.
There is this thing called the “franchise tag” which the Chiefs will most likely use to prevent Ford from signing with any other team. So, although Dee Ford would look so good in a Niner uniform next year, the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.
There are other pass rushers who will become free agents this year:
- Frank Clark (Seahawks)
- Jadeveon Clowney (Texans)
- Trey Flowers (Patriots)
- DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys)
These players are all great options for the Niners as well. But, they are also “franchise tag” candidates along with Dee Ford. But, a lot can happen between now and the NFL draft so if any of these great edge rushers are not ‘tagged”, the Niners should pounce on the opportunity to get one of these players.
There are potentially 2 impact pass rushers in this year’s NFL draft, Nick Bosa (Ohio State) and Josh Allen (Tennessee). The Niners are drafting 2nd overall so will be guaranteed a shot at one of these two edge rushers. Again, a lot can happen between now and the NFL draft in late April. If the Niners are able to sign one of the five premium pass rushers mentioned above who have already proven themselves, Lynch/Shanahan may opt for the “best available” player in the NFL draft instead of focusing solely on Bosa/Allen.
This leads me to what I feel would be the dream scenario for the Niners in 2019.
- Sign one the of five established edge rushers who will be free agents this year with Dee Ford at the top of my list.
- Instead of drafting Nick Bosa or Josh Allen, draft Quinnen Williams (DT from Alabama). He may be the next Aaron Donald (LA Rams). With Williams, Buckner, Armstead, Thomas and one of the five edge rushing free agents, the Niners may just become one of the best defenses in the league. Teams won’t be able to double team any one of these players so the QB pressures will increase dramatically. The other added benefit is to the Niners defensive backfield. With QB pressures, their coverage time will be reduced and the chance for turnovers will increase.
Other free agents that the Niners should strongly consider are Earl Thomas (Safety from the Seahawks), Landon Collins (Safety from the Giants), Tyrann Mathieu (Safety from the Texans), C.J. Mosely (LB from the Ravens), Anthony Barr (LB from the Vikings), and Chris Conley (WR from the Chiefs).
After picking Quinnen Williams in the first round, their next priority is to pick the best available Corner Back in the second round. The 2019 draft class is deep at the CB position:
- Greedy Williams (LSU)
- Deandre Baker (Georgia)
- Byron Murphy (Washington)
- Amani Oruwariye (Penn St)
- Julian Love (Notre Dame)
- Kris Boyd (Texas)
- Trayvon Mullen (Clemson) (Defensive MVP in CFP Championship game)
- Travon Diggs (Alabama)
As for Wide Receivers, every year, an impact WR emerges who was picked in the middle-to-late rounds in the draft. Lynch/Shanahan have to find that diamond in the rough. I do not recommend that the Niners trade for either Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham as the asking prices will be too high.
Although their record doesn’t show it, the team roster has improved dramatically since they took over. I expect that this trend will continue and the W’s will follow.