UPDATE: Monday, 5:51 p.m. Arrowhead Time
Chiefs Digest’s Matt Derrick reports that the Chiefs have hit Ford with the “non-exclusive” tag.
The non-exclusive tag for Dee Ford means he can sign an offer sheet with another club, but the Chiefs have right to match any offer. If another club signs Ford away, they would have to surrender two first-round selections to the Chiefs.— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) March 4, 2019
Chiefs make it official, confirming the reports from today that they have placed the franchise tag on LB Dee Ford. Source tells Chiefs Digest it's the non-exclusive tag, which comes with a contract tender of $15.44 million for the 2019 season.— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) March 4, 2019
UPDATE: Monday, 5:28 p.m. Arrowhead Time
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport weighs in, also stating Chiefs’ willingness to deal Ford.
UPDATE: Monday, 5:18 p.m. Arrowhead Time
ESPN’s Adam Schefter calls Ford a “prime trade target.”
Now the trade talks between the Chiefs and other teams can continue and intensify. With Chiefs switching to 4-3 scheme, Ford is a prime trade target. https://t.co/IqYZDCC0Am— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2019
UPDATE: Monday, 4:49 p.m. Arrowhead Time
And it’s offical, as reported first by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
The Chiefs have officially franchised DE/OLB Dee Ford, per source.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 4, 2019
Original report: Saturday, March 2, 3:55 p.m. Arrowhead Time
Chiefs are placing their franchise tag on LB Dee Ford today and plan to play with him this season, but with the change to a 4-3 defensive scheme, they will listen to trade offers for their franchised player, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 2, 2019
None of this is terribly surprising, of course. On February 19, it was reported that the Chiefs were “expected” to place the franchise tag on Ford. Under the rules, teams must officially designate that a player will be on the franchise tag between February 19 and March 5, which is this coming Tuesday.
The only unknown was whether the Chiefs would actually place the tag on Ford. While a report that a team is expected to use the franchise tag on a player will sometimes serve as an incentive for the player, his agent and the team to come to a long-term deal, more often than not, the franchise tag is ultimately applied.
That now appears to be the case with Ford. If he signs the franchise tag — and there is presently no reason to think that he won’t — Ford will be play for the Chiefs next season at a price determined to be among the top salaries in the league for a player at his position. Under the just-released 2019 franchise tag figures, Ford’s salary for the coming season would be $15.4 millon.
However, it should be noted that this assumes Ford will classified as a linebacker. For purposes of the franchise tag, this might be open for debate; it is possible that Ford could be classified as a hybrid DE/LB, which would affect his franchise tag salary. For the moment, we are assuming he’ll be tagged as a linebacker.
While the Chiefs are indicating they will listen to trade offers — the so-called “tag-and-trade” scenario — this is likely to simply be due diligence; any NFL GM will listen to trade offers for their players. It is now likely Ford will be a Chief for at least one more season.