Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers trade DT DeForest Buckner to Colts for a first-round pick

Mar 16, 2020 at 1:05 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers have traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round pick, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Colts owned the No. 13 pick in this year's draft.

The trade will become official at the start of the new league year on Wednesday.

The move comes just hours after the team locked up defensive end Arik Armstead to a five-year deal. It also gives the 49ers much more draft equity. Before this deal, the team owned just one selection — No. 31 overall — in the first four rounds of next month's draft.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Buckner has already agreed to a deal with Indianapolis that will pay the defensive tackle $21 million annually. After signing Armstead to a deal that pays $17 million annually, it seemed unlikely that San Francisco would be able to afford both players.

Buckner, 25, was entering the final year of his rookie deal. The 49ers exercised the defender's fifth-year option on April 24, 2019, guaranteeing that he remained signed with the team through at least the 2020 season.

Now, he will continue his NFL career in Indianapolis.

The 49ers made Buckner the No. 7 overall selection in 2016 after playing college football at Oregon. He registered 62 combined tackles, 7.5 sacks, two passes defensed, and two forced fumbles through 16 regular-season starts in 2019.

"I would love nothing more than for DeFo to be here," general manager John Lynch said of Buckner last offseason. "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."

Buckner was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018, following his best statistical NFL season. The defensive tackle racked up 67 tackles, a career-high and team-leading 12 sacks, and three passes defense that year. He has recorded 263 combined tackles, 28.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, and three forced fumbles through his four NFL seasons.

"He's the same guy on the practice field and the meeting rooms," tackle Joe Staley said of Buckner following the 2018 season. "He doesn't act like he's arrived and act like a superstar. He has all the right to. I feel like he is one of the best players in the NFL.

"He has the same kind of hunger and desire to get better that I saw with Frank (Gore) and the way that he works on the practice field. He's one of the hardest workers and super competitive."

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