In 2019, the 49ers traded a second-round pick and gave a major contract to pass rusher Dee Ford. He has since appeared in 12 regular-season games, including only one in 2020.
Coach Kyle Shanahan is holding out hope that Ford will be back in 2021.
“He’s been here since the beginning of February doing everything,” Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. “Had about three-and-a-half months here. And a week before everyone came back, he went back to Kansas City with his back specialist. He was going to come out here next week, but if he comes, there’s not going to be too many people here left again. But he made a lot of progress in the months that he was rehabbing here. We knew we weren’t going to put him through OTAs because we don’t want his back to act up. So I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and I’m hoping he can come ready to go in training camp and hopefully he can help us out this year.”
Ford got 6.5 sacks in 2019 (and another in the postseason), but none last year. There was speculation last season that he would retire, due to the back problem. Until he’s back and healthy, that possibility can’t be ruled out.