Shortly after agreeing to terms with defensive lineman Arik Armstead Monday morning, the San Francisco 49ers followed up their big move with another shakeup to the defensive line.
The trade was a shock to most, given how important DeForest Buckner has been to the franchise since he was drafted in 2016. Just an hour prior, it seemed as if the 49ers were going to retain their league-best defensive line.
Buckner, along with Armstead and All-Pro tight end George Kittle, were three players that the 49ers reportedly wanted to sign long-term. In the end, allocating so much money to just the defensive line didn’t make much sense.
If the 49ers were to keep their defensive line intact for years to come, it would have looked something like this:
- Armstead (approximately $17 million/year)
- Buckner ($20-21 million/year)
- Dee Ford (approximately $17 million/year)
Not to mention 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa will be in line for a hefty extension at some point.
Buckner wanted top-end money, and he certainly got that with Indianapolis. In the end, it was a contract the 49ers simply could not afford.
In return, the 49ers will receive the Colts first-round pick (No. 13 overall), as well as much-needed salary-cap space. With two first-round picks (No. 13, No. 31), the 49ers are in prime position to draft another star receiver to compliment Deebo Samuel and Kittle in the passing game. All three of Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb could be in play for the 49ers at No. 13 overall.
With the No. 31 pick, the 49ers may be looking to shop it for additional selections in the second and third rounds, where they currently have zero.
The move to trade Buckner is an emotional one for the 49ers and their fans, as he has quickly become one of the most beloved players in the organization.