Per Britt Zank of ArrowheadAddict.com, Dee Ford is not expected to pass his physical in March, which would guarantee his fifth-year option that is worth $8.5 million for 2018.
“Word is Dee Ford won’t pass his physical in March and thus his $8.5 million 5th year option will become (guaranteed). He is expected to be 100% by training camp though.” – Britt Zank via Twitter
If he does not pass his physical, Ford can take a deep breath and get ready for the start of a 2018 season in which he will still be expected to be 100% by training camp. In this case, Chiefs would still be looking to see if he is going to be the full time solution at the outside linebacker position formerly filled by the aging Tamba Hali.
After a break out 10-sack season in 2016, a lingering back issue held Ford back in 2017 and he spent the final four games on injured reserve. His stock had been trending upward prior to last season and he looked promising at the time the team decided to exercise the option on his contract.
As of 2011, the new collective bargaining agreement allows a fifth-year option for first-round draft picks and, after a team decides to exercise this on the contract, it is then, also, guaranteed by injury. The amount that is due to that player is based on a scale based on what part of the first round they were drafted in. The top 10 selections get the average of the 10 highest paid players at their position. For the rest of the first-round players picked, including Dee Ford as the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft class, it is based on the 3rd-25th highest paid players at their position.
The team’s depth at this position is certainly a concern and most experts project the team making moves at linebacker regardless, but Ford’s contract value this year will be a major factor towards the 2018 cap space.