Dee Ford injury update: Chiefs linebacker placed on injured reserve

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Outside linebacker Dee Ford
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Outside linebacker Dee Ford /

The Kansas City Chiefs have decided to move on from Dee Ford this year by placing him on injured reserve rather than hope he can get healthy.

Dee Ford’s senior season in the NFL hasn’t worked out according to plan. In his fourth year, the final of his rookie contract before the Kansas City Chiefs have to make some tough decisions, the outside linebacker was placed on injured reserve after failing to play week after week due to a lingering back injury.

The move was announced on Thursday night as they prepared to play the Oakland Raiders in Week 14. Once again, Ford had missed every practice throughout the week, a status that had become normative given that the Auburn product had not played since Week 8.

Ford only played in six total games this year, struggling with injuries at multiple points. He began the year as the starter opposite Justin Houston in the team’s base defense for the first three weeks of the season. Then he missed Weeks 4 and 5 only to return for another three-week stretch. Unfortunately that’s it for Ford’s productivity on the year.

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Now the Chiefs face some muddy waters regarding Ford’s future finances. They’ve already exercised his fifth year contract option, which gives the Chiefs the chance to keep Ford next season rather than automatically let him hit free agency. The financial hit is the average of the salaries of the third to 25th highest paid players at his position. Ford’s deal isn’t guaranteed typically until the new league year, which gives the Chiefs an out from previously picking up the deal.

Except, there’s a single clause that upsets this apple cart: the deal becomes guaranteed in case of injury. For Ford, this sort of lingering back injury could be the very thing that plagues him moving forward. If he can’t become healthy, the financial decision by the Chiefs is a nice safety net for him if he’s not healthy by the offseason.

At the same time, for a team looking forward to shedding a lot of cap space, the idea of paying nearly $9 million or so to an injured Ford is a frustrating amount to lose, and it’s a shadow of uncertainty cast over the team’s financial future until Ford can get better.

Ford ended the season with 2 sacks among 13 total tackles and a single forced fumble in six games played.