Ford had two years remaining on a five-year, $85 million deal that he signed with the 49ers after he was traded from Kansas City during the 2019 offseason. Injuries limited Ford to just seven games over the past two seasons.
A Pro Bowler with the Chiefs in 2018, Ford's first season in San Francisco could be considered a success. He recorded 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the regular season while helping the 49ers reach Super Bowl LIV, where they lost a 31-20 decision to Ford's former team, the Chiefs.
Ford's 2020 season lasted just one game after he was placed on injured reserve with neck and back injuries. He appeared in just six games last season before he was again placed on injured reserve.
Ford tallied 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles during his tenure in San Francisco. During his five seasons in Kansas City, Ford recorded 30.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and 36 tackles for loss. Ford's best season was in 2018, when he set a career-high with 13.5 sacks while leading the NFL with seven forced fumbles.
The 49ers will move forward with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw anchoring their linebacker corps. The unit also includes two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Arik Armstead and cornerback Charvarius Ward, who signed with the 49ers this offseason following a successful run with the Chiefs.