The San Francisco 49ers are trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
As part of the deal, Buckner agreed to a contract worth $21 million per year with the Colts that will make him the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL behind Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, per the report.
The pick the 49ers receive in return is the 13th overall, giving them a second first-round selection in April’s draft in addition to the 31st overall they already possessed.
49ers made Armstead their priority
The news arrives shortly after the 49ers announced a deal with defensive lineman Arik Armstead that is reportedly worth up to $85 million over five years.
It’s a significant move for the 49ers, whose league-best defensive line was the anchor of their run to the Super Bowl last season. The 49ers were consistently able to pressure opposing quarterbacks with a four-man rush, while sporting the NFL’s second-ranked rush defense and third overall.
Buckner was a key force of that success as a pillar on the interior. The fourth-year pro tallied 62 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 14 quarterbacks hits last season and has 28.5 sacks since joining the 49ers as a rookie in 2016.
With Buckner approaching the end of his rookie deal and due a massive contract, the 49ers prioritized signing Armstead instead.
Will Colts look to free agency for QB?
For the Colts, it marks a substantial upgrade to their defensive line and another star defender alongside third-year standout middle linebacker Darius Leonard.
It also indicates that they may look to free agency instead of the draft for a potential quarterback change after dealing their first-round pick.
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