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