Kansas City has hired Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator and is changing its base defensive system from a 3-4 to a 4-3, which would have necessitated a position change for Ford and Justin Houston, who was released by Kansas City. He is their best edge rusher.
The 49ers have been relatively quiet in free agency, but they're looking to make noise in the trade market.
For the 49ers, adding a premium edge rusher - or two - has always been at the top of their offseason shopping list.
The Chiefs had placed the franchise tag on Ford last week, with the intention of trying to trade him, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Ford could wind up being one of the biggest additions of the offseason for any team if he can replicate that production with San Francisco next fall. He had no sacks or tackles in the Chiefs' AFC Championship Game home loss to the New England Patriots.
Ford, 27, recorded 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in 2018. The 49ers also deploy a 4-3 scheme that would likely feature Ford as the LEO, or weakside edge rusher.
There's been some talk about Ford's fit in San Francisco's scheme. The Chiefs also saved $15 million in cap space by trading Ford, which they used towards safety Tyrann Mathieu, who signed for $42 million over three seasons.
That has the potential to be a premier pass rushing foursome which could be swing the team's historic takeaway numbers in the other direction.
In return, Kansas City will receive a second-round pick, according to The MMQB. "He's had some production and if he is here with us, I'll be excited to have him and be excited to work with him".