Ford's contract will expire soon, and he has set himself up for a big pay day, whether that's with the Chiefs or someone else.
"I just know I put myself in a good position," Ford said this week shortly before leaving for Florida. "That's all I can do. The rest will take care of itself.
"I'm laying my legacy down right now. I can't really control where I end up. I just know there will be an opportunity. If I'm on whatever team, you're going to know what I'm bringing at the end of the day. That's what I'm focusing on -- what I'm bringing."
As for what that legacy is, Ford said, "Honestly, just a player that can make impactful plays for his defense. That's what you need, a complete outside linebacker. That's hard to do, being able to rush the passer, stop the run and cover when we need it in pass coverage. I can add Pro Bowl right now to my legacy forever. That was very important for me, very important for me. Me, individually, that's what I wanted for myself, but the more I do for myself, the more I do for the team, and that's what it's all about."
Ford finished his season on a low. Despite playing a season-high 79 snaps, Ford didn't have a tackle in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. According to Pro Football Focus, Ford pressured Tom Brady just once, the only time all season he failed to register at least two pressures.
He also lined up offside to nullify the play that could have put the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, an interception by Charvarius Ward in the final minute that would have otherwise put Kansas City in position to possibly run out the clock.
The Chiefs struggled all night on defense against the Patriots, allowing touchdowns on each of New England's final three drives, not counting a kneel by Brady at the end of regulation. The Chiefs allowed the Patriots to convert three times on third-and-10 on game-winning drive in overtime. The team that tied for the league lead in sacks didn't get to Brady once.
This defensive collapse was nothing new for the Chiefs, who lost games during the regular season despite scoring 51 and 40 points. The Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on Tuesday.
Ford still had a big season. He had 78 regular-season quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, most among NFL edge rushers. He had 13 sacks.
"I'm happy with it, but I'm not satisfied with it," Ford said. "I still understand where I can get better. In order to be consistent in this league, you have to understand the good, the bad and the ugly. No one is ever going to play a perfect game. Even those games where I played really good, there was still a lot where I can get better at."
Many teams would be interested in Ford's kind of production. The Chiefs, who had been patient with Ford during some unproductive stretches early in his career, are most likely among them.
Ford said he would prefer to remain with the Chiefs. Being named the franchise player is a possibility for Ford, at a cost of around $15 million. He said he would sign the franchise tender if offered.
"No-brainer right there," he said.
Whether he's with the Chiefs or another team, Ford said he would soon begin preparing for a bigger season in 2019.
"I'm going to take time off," he said. "Every year I always evaluate the good [and] the bad. I sort of take notes and come up with a plan of action. I write it down, I stick to the plan and I start executing. I'm going to enjoy the Pro Bowl with my family and the other great players in our league. ... Thoughts will come and I'll go from there."