It’s a long ways off to come to that conclusion, but just in case everyone is curious.
A few things to remember with Dee Ford’s contract. First, his salary for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed on April 1st of that year. Should the 49ers decide to cut him before that deadline, they will take a $6.4 million dead money hit. That’s a sizable sum, but it could be something in the double digits or worse. That dead money is what remains of his $8 million roster bonus. There’s nothing else the 49ers would owe on that contract.
I wrote a post breaking down the signing in March that you can see here. What Ford has is a year-to-year deal after 2019.
Per Over the Cap, Ford’s cap number is 14.6 million in 2019, most of which is made of his $20.5 million in guarantees. Broken down, there is his signing bonus of $1.6 million (a prorated piece of $8 million), $7 million roster bonus (for 2019) and his salary of $4.75 million.
The remaining $25.25 million of guarantees for injury. Ford’s $13.65 million base salary in 2020 becomes fully guaranteed if he is with the 49ers after April 1st. That this means if Ford somehow doesn’t work out next year, the 49ers can cut him and only suffer $6.4 million in dead money for 2020. This all of course would mean they cut him before April 1. If he’s on the roster after that then there’s no way out of it. That dead money is what remains of his $8 million roster bonus. There’s nothing else the 49ers would owe.
We are a long, long ways off from even considering cutting Ford, but the fact he’s dealing with this knee injury does bring concern. For those of you thinking he signed a huge deal for the 49ers and they are on the hook for the next few years, I wanted to bring this to light to say if they do cut bait, it could be a lot worse.