Did the 49ers Win or Lose the Trade for Dee Ford?

Jose Luis Sanchez III

Pass rusher Dee Ford is set to be placed on injured reserve "some time this week," according to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

In a year that the 49ers will be without Nick Bosa, losing Ford for a hefty amount of time certainly stings the red and gold. 

Ford sustaining an injury should not come as a shock to anyone that pays attention to football. It seems like every time you look up at the injured players in the NFL, Ford is always listed. He's an injury-prone player. There is no debating that. His lack of availability has hurt the 49ers as he struggles to maintain health.

But when he is healthy, he is extremely effective for the defense. Ford was a big reason why the 49ers made the Super Bowl and even aided the development of Nick Bosa. 

So looking back at it now, did the 49ers win or lose the trade for Ford?

The 49ers lost this trade considering the draft picks and the enormous sum of cash that they have invested in him. It was really way too much for a guy who is cursed with injuries. 

Consider this. The Chiefs had a choice of coughing up money to retain Ford, a player who has been in their camp since his rookie season and they elected to ship him off. That is NEVER a good sign, or at least something that should never be overlooked. Teams do not let valued players out of their ranks, so this trade was always met with an eyebrow raise.

I will say this. While the trade should be viewed as a loss, it definitely was worth the gamble for what I mentioned earlier. There is a reason why Bosa excelled so much whenever Ford was on the field. Bosa tallied the vast majority of his sacks with Ford, so Bosa definitely benefitted from Ford. That alone may be viewed as worth it because now Bosa is setup for massive success for the future. Or at least, that is what it looked like before his torn ACL in Week 2.

Trading for Ford was an act of desperation from the 49ers. In 2018, their pass rush was absolutely atrocious. It was DeForest Buckner and Buckner alone. So of course the 49ers wanted to inject some more talent to ensure that never happened again, especially since Kyle Shanahan views the defensive line as a such a critical unit.

The act of desperation to acquire Ford is what made the 49ers overlook his injury history. But they also didn't need him to be an every down player, which is why he was always limited in snaps last season. Keeping him fresh to allow him the optimal pass rush and reducing the likelihood of injury worked well for the 49ers. 

Still, limiting a player who you gave up adequate draft capital and money on is not ideal, especially an injury prone one. The trade is a loss, but you have to admire the willingness of the 49ers to gamble on him to improve their team. 

At this point, it looks like the gamble is just for a year because Ford's injury is not sounding good. You really have to start questioning how much longer he can handle the mental strain of these injuries and if he still wants to continue to put up with it. 

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