Could the NY Jets explore a Robert Saleh reunion with Dee Ford?

NY Jets, Dee Ford
NY Jets, Dee Ford / Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets coaching staff has never been one to shy away from prior connections under the guidance of head coach Robert Saleh. With that in mind, could the team explore a possible reunion with the recently-released Dee Ford?

Ford was released by the San Francisco 49ers late last month after three injury-riddled seasons out west. He showed some promise in his first year with the 49ers, notably under the tutelage of Saleh, but injuries quickly derailed his career after that.

Saleh has brought in a number of Ford's former teammates from that vaunted 49ers defense including Kwon Alexander, Solomon Thomas, D.J. Reed, and Marcell Harris. Could Ford be the next to join them in New York?

The Jets are obviously already loaded at defensive end, but Saleh loves his pass rushers. Ford could make some sense as a low-risk veteran flyer.

Dee Ford could reunite with Robert Saleh on the NY Jets

A first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2014 NFL Draft, Ford spent the first five years of his career in Kansas City where he developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber pass rusher.

He recorded double-digit sacks in two of his final three seasons with the Chiefs including a 13-sack performance in 2018. A contract dispute saw him traded to the 49ers ahead of the 2019 season and that trade came alongside a massive five-year, $87.5 million contract.

Ford would go on to play just 18 games over three years with the 49ers before being released last month. His first season was promising as Ford racked up 6.5 sacks in 11 games as part of Saleh's dominant pass-rush rotation.

Unfortunately, injuries piled up quickly after that. Ford appeared in just one game the following season as a result of neck and back injuries, and after making six appearances in 2021, he once again found himself on the injured reserve for the same reason.

At 31 years old and with recurring neck and back injuries, it's hard to imagine Ford is ever anything close to the player he used to be. That said, he did still manage three sacks in just six games last year. There may still be something left in the tank.

If Ford is looking to revitalize his career, why not reunite with the man he found previous success working under? Ford could join a deep Jets defensive end rotation and compete for a roster spot this summer.

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It'd be a low-risk, low-cost addition in the form of someone who, at his peak, was a legitimate Pro Bowler. Saleh loves to load up on pass rushers and is always looking to add players with familiarly in his system (see: Ronnie Blair last season).

Why not Dee Ford?