The 49ers pulled off a shocker of a trade on Monday, sending team MVP defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news. The 49ers traded Buckner to the Colts for theif 2020 first-round pick, No. 13 overall.
Buckner had long been believed to be among the 49ers’ top priorities for a new contract this offseason, along with tight end George Kittle. The 49ers on Monday agreed to a five-year contract extension worth up to $85 million with defensive lineman Arik Armstead.
The Armstead deal came at a cost, making it unlikely the 49ers could pay Buckner the kind of money he would be seeking on his next contract. Buckner was scheduled to make $12.378 million this season on the final year of his contract with the 49ers.
After the season, 49ers general manager John Lynch explained how the 49ers were now in a position to make difficult decisions with their roster after advancing to Super Bowl LIV.
“We can't go to the grocery store and say, ‘I'll have that, I'll have that, I'll have that.’ It is more like, ‘I'll have that, but I might have to put that back.’ There are tradeoffs,” Lynch said.
“And we're committed to finding a way to be better. We'd love to keep everybody. This team is special. There's a special feel to it. We hope that's the case. It's probably not likely, it just doesn't happen in this league.”
Buckner was voted as the Bill Walsh Award winner, as the team’s most valuable player, in 2019. He registered 7.5 sacks last season after coming through with a career-high 12 sacks and a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team in 2018.
Buckner was the 49ers’ No. 7 overall pick from Oregon in 2016 – one year after the 49ers selected his college teammate, Armstead, at No. 17 overall.