The San Francisco 49ers announced on Wednesday that the team has exercised the fifth-year option on defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, guaranteeing he remains with the team through the 2020 season.

The 49ers had until May 3 to use the option, which is available on players drafted in the first round. The team can continue discussions on a contract extension, and the two sides have done so, but the talks are in the infancy.

"We've had conversations here and there," Buckner told reporters last week. "Honestly, it's just very early, just because I'm eligible for a new contract going into my fourth year. It's still very early in the process."

Buckner, 25, was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2018. A postseason injury to Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox earned Buckner a trip to Miami to play in the game.

"I would love nothing more than for DeFo to be here," general manager John Lynch said on Monday. "We've got a long time to work on that. He's very important to us, and he's another guy who's a big part of what we're doing. I just love everything about him, and the way he goes about his business. I think he's a special player, and we'd like to keep him here for a long time."

The 49ers made Buckner, who played college football at Oregon, the No. 7 overall selection in 2016. He registered 67 combined tackles, a career-high 12 sacks, and three passes defensed through 16 starts with the 49ers in 2018. Buckner became the first 49ers player since 2012 to have 10-or-more sacks in a single season. He has recorded 201 combined tackles, 21 sacks, nine passes defensed, and a forced fumble through his three NFL seasons.

Career Statistics
Season Team G GS Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int
2018 49ers 16 16 67 44 23 12.0 0 3 0
2017 49ers 16 16 61 45 16 3.0 0 5 0
2016 49ers 15 15 73 43 30 6.0 0 1 0
Total 201 132 69 21.0 0 9 0

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