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49ers Rumors: Latest Free-Agency Buzz After DeForest Buckner Trade

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2020

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner
Arik Armstead and DeForest BucknerTony Avelar/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers are off to a busy start in the new league year. 

Within hours of the free-agent negotiation window opening Monday, the reigning NFC champions executed a a couple of major deals. First, the 49ers agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with Arik Armstead. Minutes later, reports emerged of San Francisco sending DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts.

And suddenly, the outlook of the franchise's offseason has undergone a couple of dramatic changes.

Armstead put together a breakout year in 2019, racking up 54 tackles with 10 sacks. Buckner has starred on the defensive line for a few seasons, but the Niners couldn't afford both. So, they chose the versatile and cheaper Armstead while extracting the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft for Buckner.

That decisionwhile a difficult onemeans the 49ers are shifting their attention toward filling out the roster.

They re-signed offensive lineman Shon Coleman to a one-year deal. Then they agreed to an extension with safety Jimmie Ward after he totaled a career-high 65 tackles last season.

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Ward is the first post-Armstead/Buckner domino to fall, but several more should be following in the near future.

The Niners have a decision to make on Emmanuel Sanders, whom they acquired during the 2019 season. San Francisco sent the Denver Broncos a third- and fourth-round pick for Sanders, so it may sting if he leaves in free agency.

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area noted the 49ers are "closely monitoring" the 33-year-old, whose birthday was Tuesday, and prefer to re-sign Sanders but are waiting to see what the market dictates.

Plus, the Colts' first-round pick provides some flexibility.

San Francisco could select a wideout at No. 13. If that's the plan, the most likely targets are Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb and Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. The Niners could then pursue a veteran to round out the rotation.

ESPN's Josina Anderson notes the 49ers have showed "preliminary interest" in Phillip Dorsett. Since he caught 29 passes for 397 yards and five touchdowns in a reserve role for the New England Patriots last year, Dorsett may be relatively inexpensiveat least compared to what Sanders should command.

The 49ers should also be in the market for a backup tight end.

Veteran backup Garrett Celek retired after the season, and blocking specialist Levine Toilolo is heading to the New York Giants, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

San Francisco has about $20 million in cap space, per Spotrac, with the ability to create more by releasing Tevin Coleman, for example. The Niners are likely to make a few additional moves in free agency.

            

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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