According to NFL.com’s Anthony Holzman-Escareno, Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is one of the newest members of the ‘2020 NFL All Paid Team’—after inking a freshly dried 4-year, $84 million extension earlier this offseason following his surprising trade from the San Francisco 49ers:
Interior defensive line: DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts ($21 million APY)*
Full contract: Four-year, $84 million extension | Signed: 2020
Guaranteed at signing: $39.4 million (46.9 percent)
2020 cap hit: $23.4 million (11.8 percent of 2020 salary cap) | 2020 cash: $23.4 million
After shipping the 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft to the 49ers to acquire Buckner, the Colts immediately signed the defensive lineman to an $84 million extension worth $21 million per season over four years. The 49ers moved Buckner, who was entering the last year of his contract, after deciding not to commit to keeping both him and impending free agent (and fellow Oregon alum) Arik Armstead long-term. So they signed Armstead at a lower APY ($17 million) and picked up a valuable draft asset for Buckner.
It may ultimately prove to have been a shrewd move, but the Niners’ decision cost them one of the anchors to their NFC-winning defense. Buckner led the 49ers in sacks, QB hits and tackles for loss over his four seasons with the team. Since the start of his 2018 Pro Bowl campaign, Bucker has more sacks (19.5) than any interior defensive lineman not named Aaron Donald (33.0) or Chris Jones (24.5).
Buckner trails only the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald as the highest paid defensive tackle in all of football.
However, the Colts clearly believe that the 26 year old All-Pro defensive tackle was worth the money (and the 13th overall pick)—as he’ll anchor their defensive line for the foreseeable future while providing a much needed interior pass rush.
Last season, Buckner finished with 62 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and 2 forced fumbles in all 16 starts for the NFC Champion 49ers’ defense.
The former 7th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft should really thrive as a 3-technique defensive tackle in Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ scheme—with his quickness, athleticism, and incredibly long arms.
To their credit, the Colts still have a projected $24.2 million in cap space this offseason, so Buckner’s big cap hits shouldn’t be an issue in the immediate future—especially with an estimated $125 million of cap space next year with an army of impending free agents (and a few dead cap hits coming off the books).
Although yes, the Colts will want to re-sign some of those players.