DeForest Buckner Traded to Colts from 49ers, Reportedly Signs New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2020

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 11: DeForest Buckner #99 of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after winning the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. The San Francisco 49ers won 27-10. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts acquired defensive tackle DeForest Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting the Niners will receive the 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft in return.

The Colts also reportedly agreed to an extension with Buckner, who was set to be a free agent in 2021, that averages $21 million annually.

Buckner later took to social media to bid farewell to the 49ers:

DeForest Buckner @DeForestBuckner

I want to thank the 49ers Organization for taking a chance on me 4 years ago. You’ve given me the opportunity to live my dream and start my own legacy. It’s been one hell of a journey, from 2-14 my rookie year to the Super Bowl this past season... https://t.co/IJzEU8R8hw

To some extent, the 49ers effectively chose to keep Arik Armstead instead of Buckner, having agreed to a five-year extension worth up to $85 million with Armstead, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

San Francisco still has to sort out possible deals for Kendrick Bourne, Matt Breida, Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmie Ward this offseason, while George Kittle hits the open market next year.

Tying up both Armstead and Buckner on significant long-term deals was possible for the Niners but arguably not the best allocation of their cap space.

Chris Biderman @ChrisBiderman

Why not keep Buckner and shed money elsewhere? No one else had that type of trade value outside of George Kittle or Nick Bosa. The trade creates some cap flexibility and nets a top pick.

The Colts, meanwhile, shore up one of their biggest positional needs.

Justin Houston proved to be a smart signing after collecting 11 sacks, but Indianapolis' defensive line struggled as a unit. The team finished 15th in adjusted line yards and 21st in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs aren't going anywhere, so pressuring the quarterback is a must for any AFC team with title ambitions.

Michael Lombardi @mlombardiNFL

Colts get it---you cannot beat Mahomes without inside pressure--its never about coverage, its always about getting into the "paint" this move is all about Mahomes.

The Athletic's Zak Keefer pointed to a comment from Colts general manager Chris Ballard that looks prescient with Monday's trade:

Zak Keefer @zkeefer

Timely quote from Colts GM Chris Ballard, just a month ago: "I’m always going to be obsessed with the (defensive) front. I just believe that that’s how you win and that’s how you have sustained success over time."

Buckner has been excellent over the past two years, registering 19.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. He should make an immediate impact on Indianapolis' defensive front, and the team got ahead of any contract drama ahead of his 2021 free agency.

Unless they trade back into the first round, though, the Colts will now have to wait until at least the second day of the 2020 NFL draft to select a quarterback. In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected them to take Utah State's Jordan Love with the No. 13 pick.