Today is the deadline for the San Francisco 49ers to activate veteran pass-rusher Dee Ford off injured reserve. Ford, who hasn’t played since Week 7’s Oct. 24 game against the Indianapolis Colts won’t return at all this season if he’s not activated today.
Which is exactly what’s expected to happen after ‘Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed earlier this week, “he’d be surprised if he’s back”. The 49ers opened his three-week window to return to the field back on Nov. 24. But now it appears that won’t happen at all. At least, not in San Francisco.
Not only is Ford expected to miss the rest of the year, but the 23rd overall selection from the 2014 NFL Draft also anticipates he’ll be released from his contract, making him a free agent. Or at least that’s what he’s been telling his teammates in San Fran, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Ford has been recovering from a back injury that’s lingered from the offseason. He started the year playing in games but never saw more than 32% of his team’s defensive snaps in any of his six games played before the ‘Niners shut him down.
If released, it ends a three-year tenure in the Bay Area, where Ford tallied 9.5 sacks in just 18 regular season games. The 49ers acquired the pass rusher from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 for a 2020 second-round pick.
Now 30 years old, Ford should be able to land on his feet with another NFL franchise as soon as he can show he’s healthy once again. An eight-year vet, Ford made the Pro Bowl with the Chiefs in 2018 after forcing a league-high seven fumbles and racking up 13 sacks. He’s gotten just three forced fumbles and 9.5 sacks since.
Dee Ford has one year remaining on his contract, which is set for an $11.9 million cap hit in 2022.