3 Trade targets in 2021 offseason with ties to Cleveland Browns staff

Cleveland Browns trade target, Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns trade target, Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns trade targets
Cleveland Browns trade targets, Dee Ford. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

2. Dee Ford, EDGE

Back in 2019, Joe Woods served as the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. That happened to be the year they made it to the Super Bowl in large part due to their stout defense.

Since that season, Woods took a job as the Browns defensive coordinator, and his old DC, Robert Saleh, is now the head coach of the New York Jets. Suffice it to say, this was a solid staff but they also had some great players to work with.

One of those players was Dee Ford, the former first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs who was traded to the Niners during the 2019 offseason and then promptly signed a five-year contract worth $87.5 million.

Ford might not have been directly under Woods but the Cleveland defensive coordinator understood what he brought to the table since Ford’s ability to generate pressure helped the secondary since it forced the ball out quickly.

The crazy thing is, Ford was never even used as a full-time starter. With Nock Bosa and Arik Armstead playing on the edge, Ford was used as a rotational rusher and had 6.5 sacks in 11 games with just two starts. Then in 2020, he suffered a neck and back injury which limited him to only one game.

Throw that into the mix — along with the loss of Saleh as the coordinator — and the 49ers might be willing to part with Ford and his cap hit of over $20 million. For Cleveland, he could be of interest since they need to pair another end with Myles Garrett.

The question comes down to the price to acquire him — which shouldn’t be much given the injuries and that albatross of a contract — and whether or not he would renegotiate his deal with a new club. If the price is right on both those accounts, he could be worth the gamble.