Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner apparently wants no part of a rumor that suggests the veteran doesn’t want to return to the Indianapolis Colts for the 2023 season.
In response to the rumor, Buckner tweeted a gif of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street with the caption, “I need you to check your sources.”
That post was in response to a tweet from the NFL Rumors Twitter account, which revealed on March 22 that Buckner “wants to play for a contender and could be traded.”
Buckner didn’t receive any honors for his play from the 2022 season, but he was one of Indianapolis’ best players. He posted 8 sacks with 74 combined tackles, including 11 for loss and 22 quarterback hits.
DeForest Buckner Staying With the Colts?
Buckner didn’t specify if the entire NFL Rumors tweet was not true, but it’s hard to imagine him picking a more resounding way to declare the trade rumor inaccurate.
Ironically, the Colts originally acquired Buckner through a trade three years ago. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Buckner No. 7 overall in the 2016 NFL draft but dealt him for a 2020 first-rounder after his fourth season.
Buckner made the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro once during his four seasons with the 49ers. With the Colts, Buckner made first-team All-Pro in 2020 and then the Pro Bowl again in 2021.
In each of the past five seasons, Buckner has recorded at least 7 sacks, 55 combined tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits. He’s been one of the best defensive tackles in the league during that stretch.
Buckner and fellow defensive tackle Grover Stewart make up the strength of not only the Colts defense but arguably the entire roster. If Buckner wanted traded this offseason, Colts general manager Chris Ballard would have a problem.
One Advantage to Colts Trading Buckner
In all likelihood, Buckner will be staying in Indianapolis for the 2023 season. But that doesn’t mean the Colts don’t have something to gain with a trade.
As the NFL rumors Twitter account noted, the Colts could save $19.7 million by trading Buckner. He’s signed through the 2024 season and at 29 years old, he’s still in his prime.
In all likelihood, Buckner’s trade market wouldn’t be what it was three years ago. But he could command back decent draft compensation because he’s still an elite player under 30.
So by trading Buckner, the Colts could get younger and cheaper.
However, the Colts have already lost quarterback Matt Ryan and cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a salary dump and trade. That’s a lot of veteran leadership out the door.
Even though Indianapolis is rebuilding, it would be prudent of the franchise to keep some of their experienced, expensive talent.
The Colts may not be a serious contender in 2023, but again, Buckner is signed for two more years. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, so a new contract in 2025 isn’t out of the question either.
Buckner appears worth more to the Colts on the roster than as a trade chip. But what the team could gain in a trade could lead to more rumors of a possible Buckner trade swirling this offseason.
If Buckner’s Twitter account foreshadowed anything, though, he will crush those rumors too.