49ers

DeForest Buckner trade: How 49ers now can find star in 2020 NFL Draft

DeForest Buckner trade: How 49ers now can find star in 2020 NFL Draft

The 49ers made sure to keep a key part of their vaunted defensive line Monday when the non-tampering window of free agency opened.

Soon after the franchise tag deadline close, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that Arik Armstead and the 49ers agreed to a five-year contract extension that could be worth up to $85 million. A mere hours later, San Francisco made a shocking move. 

NBC Sports Bay Area has confirmed the 49ers have traded defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Buckner and the Colts already have agreed to a massive contract extension. 

The front office's decision to move Buckner will frustrate plenty of fans, but both he and star tight end George Kittle were set to hit the open market after this upcoming season. And the 49ers have to re-sign Kittle. More than anything, the move completely alters the 49ers' game plan for the draft. 

Entering Monday, the 49ers owned the No. 31 overall pick in the draft. After that, they aren't scheduled to be on the clock until the fifth round. As Schefter noted, the NFC champions are in prime position to trade one of their first-round picks to gain more draft capital

But let's say they hold on to that No. 13 pick. The 49ers now are in great spot to address an area of need on a cheap rookie contract. 

If the 49ers want to address their new Buckner-sized hole, they can eye South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who dominated the week of Senior Bowl practice. Kinlaw reached his potential as a senior, recording six sacks, though his tape and traits are more dominant than his stats. With Armstead's ability to play outside and inside, the 49ers possibly could look at an edge rusher like LSU K'Lavon Chaisson as well.

It's no surprise that the 49ers defensive backs have some question marks going into the offseason. Safety Jimmie Ward is a free agent, star cornerback Richard Sherman is turning 32 years old while entering the final year of his contract and they don't have a proven corner opposite of Sherman. 

The 49ers now can address their DBs early, especially after the Arizona Cardinals reportedly acquired three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans on Monday. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney seems perfect for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, and Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson showed out at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

What this trade really does, though, is give the 49ers the chance to draft a star receiver in a class full of studs. 

Nothing is guaranteed, especially in the draft, but there's a good chance Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb or at least one of Alabama's Jerry Jeudy-Henry Ruggs duo will be available. Somewhere, Kyle Shanahan is smiling with Tha Carter II on in the background.

Lamb, who feels like Hopkins 2.0, or Jeudy would give Shanahan a route-running extraordinaire to pair with Deebo Samuel's versatility. Either prospect can step in and be a No. 1 from Day 1. 

And then there's Ruggs. Shanahan dreams of speed like what Ruggs brings. The former Crimson Tide burner ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the combine, where the 49ers just happened to meet with him. 

[RELATED: Report: 49ers likely to shop one of their two first-rounders]

The 49ers passed on signing Tom Brady in free agency, and are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo to run the show. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch now are in perfect position to get their QB the target he badly needs to make another Super Bowl run. 

With Buckner becoming a Colt, the 49ers' draft plan completely changed.

Trent Williams chose 49ers partly due to Nick Bosa, defensive line

Trent Williams chose 49ers partly due to Nick Bosa, defensive line

The 49ers' defensive line is the strength of the team. Not just for the chaos it creates, but also for the players it helps attract.

Last season, San Francisco allowed the fewest passing yards per game (169.2) and tied for the fifth-most sacks (48) in the NFL. Anyone who watched the 49ers' defensive line quickly realized it was one of the elite units in the league.

That included new 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams, who sat out all of last season amid a dispute with Washington. That gave Williams plenty of time to study up on the top D-lines in the league, which ultimately influenced which teams he would be open to joining. After so much time away from game action, he knew he needed to go up against the best of the best.

"Oh man, I'm looking forward to it," Williams told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport on the "RapSheet and Friends" podcast. "When I looked for a team to go to, I looked at the opposite side of the ball to see who can I sharpen my iron on every day in practice because when I get out there on the field, I can't come up with a rust excuse. All that to me doesn't exist. So, I would rather be rusty in practice and be able to sharpen my iron then than to try to do it Monday night with all the cameras on me. 

" ... The defense is probably the best in the league. When you think about defensive lines that get after the quarterback, I think anybody with a pulse is going to throw the 49ers' front out there within the first, second or third groups to mention. So, that in itself excites me as a competitor, because I know I can get some of the best work done during the week. On Sundays, you're not going to see too many guys better than that group. Especially not any individuals that much better than [Nick] Bosa. I think they just don't have that many guys in the league that are better than him. So, I think for me, it's going to do everything for me to get me back to where I know I can be at."

[RELATED: Williams explains why 49ers were his ideal trade option]

When the 49ers' top offensive and defensive units go up against each other in practice, the expectation is that Williams and Bosa will be matched up head-to-head. That should make for quite the individual battle, and likely will only serve to make each player better.

Given that one has made the Pro Bowl seven times and the other is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, that should be a terrifying thought for most other linemen in the league -- on both sides of the ball.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Eric Reid calls out 49ers' messaging on Black Lives Matter tweet

Eric Reid calls out 49ers' messaging on Black Lives Matter tweet

Eric Reid sent a strong statement to the 49ers tweeting "Black Lives Matter" and #BlackoutTuesday. The former 49ers safety responded with "I think you meant Blackball Tuesday" and called the organization hypocrites. 

Reid joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the playing of the national anthem as a form of a peaceful protest against racial and social injustices, including police brutality, throughout the 2016 season when both players were part of the 49ers. Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since opting out of his 49ers contract ahead of the 2017 offseason.

General manager John Lynch admitted in May 2017 the 49ers told Kaepernick they would have released him if he didn't opt out of his contract.

The quarterback alleged NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protest, but Kaepernick ultimately settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last year. Reid clearly agrees with Kaepernick's beliefs regarding the league "blackballing" him due to his protests. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

CEO Jed York announced Saturday night the 49ers will be donating $1 million to local and national organizations committed to social change. York exlained why Monday, and even said, "We need to continue work that Colin drew attention to four years ago in 2016, and we need to continue to let our players, first and foremost, know they have a voice to be able to speak out" in an interview with the NFL Network's Jim Trotter.

After former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith praised York Saturday, Reid, who was teammates with Smith on the Carolina Panthers in 2018, expressed he had very different opinions and experiences with York than Smith did. 

[RELATED: Jackson insists 'fake' NFL should apologize to Kaepernick]

Reid continued to kneel in 2017 with the 49ers and the team opted not to re-sign him in free agency. The Carolina Panthers signed him to a one-year contract on Sept. 27, 2018, weeks into the 2018 season. 

The former 49ers first-round draft pick recorded 130 tackles and four sacks last season with the Panthers. He signed a three-year contract extension with Carolina in February 2019 and was cut one year later in March 2020.