The Kansas City Chiefs have done what most expected them to do with their annual franchise tag, but it came with a bit of a twist. General manager Brett Veach elected to use the tag on outside linebacker Dee Ford on Saturday.

However, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Chiefs are open to trading the newly tagged Ford after the best season of his career.

According to Schefter, the rationale behind dealing away one of the best players on an otherwise bad defense is a matter of scheme. Kansas City hired former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to replace longtime DC Bob Sutton, who was fired following a defensive collapse in the AFC Championship Game.

Sutton ran a 3-4 base defense in Kansas City, while Spagnuolo has traditionally ran a 4-3 scheme throughout his career. If a team decided to offer multiple early-round draft picks, the Chiefs might be inclined to send Ford away since he is more of a 3-4 pass rusher.

If the Chiefs dealt away both Ford and Justin Houston, as they have been rumored to want, it would free up salary cap space to extend younger stars like Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill. The additional draft capital could be used to shore up the defense with rookies, as well.

On the other hand, the Chiefs’ defense was the reason the team did not win a championship in 2018 and Ford had a great season. He finished with 13 sacks and helped an otherwise poor defense lead the league in sacks. A player of that caliber is more reliable than rookies would be for a team that will go into the season as a Super Bowl favorite.

Ford will carry a salary cap hit of about $15 million if he plays the 2019 season under the franchise tag. He could also sign a long-term deal during the offseason.

Josh Rosen #3 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass while being rushed by Dee Ford #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of the game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. David Eulitt/Getty Images