It appears the San Francisco 49ers just chose between Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Sort of. Hours after inking Armstead to a six-year deal with nearly $50 million guaranteed, the 49ers have traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, per NFL insider Adam Schefter.
The 49ers, who were in desperate need of draft capital, sent Buckner to Indy for a first-round pick (the 13th overall selection). Buckner has already “agreed to a massive contract that pays him $21 million a year and makes him the second-highest paid DT in NFL history behind Aaron Donald,” Schefter tweeted.
Thus, the 49ers, who had one pick late in the first round in 2020, now have the 13th overall pick in the draft this year. They also broke up their top-five defense, so it will be interesting to see how the unit plays with Armstead in and Buckner out.
Buckner has been an excellent and reliable defender in his four seasons with the 49ers. He has started all but one game in that time span, and he has 28.5 sacks in 63 games. He now joins linebacker Darius Leonard in Indianapolis. The Colts were ranked 17th in team defense last season, while the 49ers were ranked 5th.
San Francisco selected Buckner in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Now, four years later, they got a 13th overall pick in exchange for him. Early reports suggest Buckner was commanding a bit too much money, so the 49ers chose to pay Armstead $17 million a year while sending Buckner to Indy in exchange for some first-round currency.
Buckner posted a touching goodbye to 49ers fans on his Instagram page.
DeForest Buckner Contract: How Much Money Did He Ask For?
Matt Barrows of The Athletic thinks Buckner’s price tag was too high for a cash-strapped San Francisco team. “Buckner’s reps were pushing to get him Aaron Donald-like money from the get-go,” Barrows tweeted Monday afternoon. “The 49ers obviously thought that was too much.”
Buckner is one of the more disruptive defensive linemen in the league, and his durability and overall health over the last four seasons cannot be understated. The Colts got a huge value and boost to their defense, and the 49ers increased their draft capital in a trade that, at least on the surface, seems like a win-win.
Now, all eyes will be on the 49ers and what they do with that 13th overall pick.