In an absolutely shocking turn of events, the Colts have traded their first-round pick to the 49ers for the Pro Bowl defensive end.
The Colts have made no secret that they want to improve up front. They released Margus Hunt earlier in the day to get younger, and now we see why. Chris Ballard and company just made a bombshell trade to improve the defensive line in a clear win-now move.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts have traded the 13th overall pick to the 49ers for Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
Perhaps the biggest news around this trade is that the Colts will be paying him an enormous amount of money at $21 million a year. They signed him to a five-year extension too. That takes a big chunk out of the cap space the Colts have.
This also means that they won’t have a first-round pick this season. They could have used that pick to take a quarterback or a wide receiver to improve the offense, but clearly they believe improving the interior on the defensive line is a higher priority.
This also clearly signals that the quarterback situation will be handled one of two ways: Jacoby Brissett remains the starter, or Philip Rivers comes in. Without a first-round pick, those are the options the Colts are left with unless Tom Brady comes into the fold as well.
What this trade signals to everyone is that the Colts are in win-now mode. They believe they have a roster that needs upgraded in a few specific areas to make a run. This is by far the biggest move that Ballard has made in his tenure as GM of the team.
Initially to me, it looks like a lot to give up for someone who isn’t at the most important position on the field. But it pass rush up the middle was a major flaw on this team the last few years. This could end up paying off big time if Buckner continues on his upward trajectory.
The Colts are getting a player who has 19.5 sacks and 5 fumble recoveries over the past two seasons. He did that while he was on his rookie deal. He is in the prime of his career at 27. This is a move that should get the fans excited about the immediate future of this squad.
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