Yet another edge pass rusher won't be hitting the open market. 

On Monday, not long after Jadeveon Clowney, DeMarcus Lawrence, and all got hit with the franchise tag by their respective teams, Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford was also franchise tagged, as first reported by Albert Breer of The Monday Morning Quarterback. Ford, a 2014 first-round pick who erupted for a career-high 13 sacks in 2018, will return to Kansas City for at least one more season -- unless the Chiefs decide to trade him.

The two sides have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term contract agreement. Otherwise, he'll play under a one-year deal. The franchise tag figure for linebackers is $15.4 million. 

The Chiefs might want Ford to prove that his 2018 output wasn't an outlier before they commit long-term money to him. Ford has reached double-digit sack totals just twice in five seasons. In those five seasons, he's accumulated 30.5 sacks for an average of roughly six sacks per season. He was fantastic in 2018 -- even if his offsides penalty in the AFC title game doomed his team -- which makes it impossible for the team to let him walk away in free agency, but that doesn't mean they'll be eager to give him a long-term deal. At some point, the Chiefs are going to have to pay Patrick Mahomes a boatload of money, and guys like Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones, both of whom are entering the final year of their deals, won't be cheap.

Despite the application of the tag, there's still a chance Ford won't be back in Kansas City in 2019, though. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that the Chiefs will also listen to trade offers for Ford. After Ford was tagged, Schefter reported that trade talks can now "continue and intensify." 

The Chiefs, whose defense cost them a spot in the Super Bowl, are undergoing a transition to a 4-3 defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Fellow pass-rushing outside linebacker Justin Houston is expected to be released before the start of the new league year, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who also wrote on Monday that he "would set the odds higher that the Texans tag-and-trade Jadaveon Clowney than ... the Chiefs making a tag-and-trade deal for Dee Ford." 

Houston and Ford combined for 22 sacks this past season. If the Chiefs release Houston as expected and trade Ford, they'll be getting rid of a significant portion of their pass rush, which was their defense's only redeeming quality in 2018. Despite tying for the league lead in sacks, the Chiefs' defense ranked 31st in yards allowed, 24th in points allowed, and 26th in DVOA. Now, imagine how bad that defense would be without their two best edge rushers.