Why DeForest Buckner is great first step for Colts this offseason

DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts made a blockbuster trade in acquiring defensive tackle DeForest Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers for the No. 13 overall pick.

The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a blockbuster trade with the San Francisco 49ers for Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

Buckner was dealt to Indianapolis by San Francisco for the Colts’ No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Buckner will receive a $21 million extension upon being traded to the Colts. This move is the first great step for the Colts this offseason.

Though dealing the No. 13 overall pick likely means the Colts have punted on drafting either Justin Herbert out of Oregon or Jordan Love out of Utah State in this spring’s draft, landing a player of Buckner’s caliber on a favorable contract is huge for Indianapolis. He can be a difference maker for them on defense as the Colts vie for their first AFC South division championship since 2014.

This trade comes on the heels of the 49ers giving defensive end Arik Armstead a five-year contract worth $85 million instead of being slapped with the franchise tag like we all thought he would be. San Francisco now has two first round picks, No. 13 and their own at No. 31, but won’t be picking again until No. 156 in the fifth round. This deal was done to generate draft capital.

For the Colts, this move likely means they will continue to pursue former Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in his impending free agency. While the Colts could move forward with Jacoby Brissett as their 2020 starter, the AFC South is wide open after the Houston Texans moronically traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson.

By trading for Buckner, the Colts seriously upgrade in the trenches in their quest for divisional supremacy. The harder the Colts defense makes things for Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill and presumably Gardner Minshew, the easier it will be for Frank Reich‘s team to get back to playoff relevancy in the AFC.

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In his four-year NFL career, Buckner has missed one game. He has 28.5 career sacks, including 12 in his breakout campaign of 2018, one where he made a Pro Bowl. In short, Buckner brings a competitive firepower to a Colts team ready to make a leap forward in the AFC pecking order. They won’t win the AFC South next year because of him, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.