Spagnuolo’s comments may have been influenced by potential tag fight with Dee Ford

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If/when the Chiefs apply the franchise tag to Dee Ford, they’ll surely designate him as a linebacker, because he has played linebacker in the team’s 3-4 defense. Ford may argue that he’s actually a defensive end, based on the number of times he rushes the passer versus the number of times he stands up and plays linebacker.

It’s a difference of several million dollars under the tag, with the defensive end tender carrying the higher value. And while the tender is driven by the position at which the player took the most snaps in the prior year, officially adopting a 4-3 defense and, in turn, formally making Ford a defensive end, would create an avoidable point of contention in the potential grievance to come.

That’s possibly why new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo specifically avoided applying a label to the defense, or to Ford’s role in it, when talking to reporters on Wednesday.

Eleven years ago, the Ravens and Terrell Suggs grappled over the issue, resolving the grievance by creating a hybrid characterization — one that has never been adopted by the league for all potential similar situations. Ford could have a strong case for a similar outcome; his case for escaping the middle-ground hybrid role and being regarded as a defensive end could be even stronger if the Chiefs were to acknowledge that, in the 2019 defensive scheme, that’s what he’ll be.

14 responses to “Spagnuolo’s comments may have been influenced by potential tag fight with Dee Ford

  1. You never know, it might be worth paying him a little more to be a defensive end. By putting his hand on the turf maybe he will be able to see the line of scrimmage better.

  2. Even if it is 40% DE last year, if in this year’s defense he is going to be a DE more than 50%, you kinda have to pay him as a DE regardless of the past rules. Don’t squabble over a few million and risk a hold out. And if you really need him than sign him for a multi year contract.

  3. This is the same Dee Ford that the Patriots mercilessly ran directly at in the AFCCG?

    He’s closer to a safety than a D-lineman, at least from a physical stature standpoint.

    Take your LB money and be happy. Everyone knows you aren’t really a lineman.

  4. Dee Ford has said all along he’s fine with the tag. As for assuming Spags not knowing exactly what scheme he’s going to run, that makes perfect sense. He’s said he’ll modify the scheme to fit the talent. So instead of making up theories that the Chiefs are trying to tag him at s cheaper rate, the reality is he may not play exactly the same position he played last year under Sutton. All they have to do is look at the number of snaps historically and see where he’s played and tag him as such

  5. Spags knows how to step in it and he has just done that. Good luck little coach!
    It didn’t work for you in St Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore, and again in New York. Why would KC be different?

  6. The CBA says his franchise tag position is determined by where he played most the previous year. Doesn’t matter if the Chiefs want to move him to QB, his franchise tag won’t pay him at the QB rate. IOW, it has nothing to do with Spags’ comments on how they want to use him.

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