Could DeForest Buckner trade already be considered among best in Colts franchise history?
Where does the DeForest Buckner trade rank in Colts franchise history?
It goes without saying that the Indianapolis Colts’ biggest need entering the 2020 offseason was an interior defensive lineman. Given the lack of star power in free agency, general manager Chris Ballard wisely decided to browse the trade market.
Like so many of his decisions since taking the Colts GM job back in 2017, he has proven to look like a genius for doing so. When the dust settled, Indy acquired DeForest Buckner from the 49ers in exchange for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
How sold were the Colts on Buckner’s talent and the impact he could make on their defense? Well, they immediately signed him to a monster four-year, $84 million extension. His $21 million annual average salary ranks second in the entire NFL among defensive tackles, trailing only Rams world-beater Aaron Donald.
At the time, giving Buckner that much money looked like a questionable move as his performance wasn’t always consistent through the first four years of his career. However, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound behemoth has quite literally been one of the best defenders in the league through the first month of the season. In fact, Buckner has been so dominant that it’s time for fans in Indianapolis to start pondering if trading for him was one of the smartest deals in Colts franchise history.
It’s still WAY early in Buckner’s tenure in Indianapolis, but the sheer influence he’s had on the defense as a whole, not just the front seven, makes this question a legitimate one.
According to Pro Football Focus, he ranks second among interior defenders in sacks (2) and quarterback hits (6) in addition to being third in run stops (10) and fifth in PRP (7.7), which evaluates disruption based on hits, hurries and sacks. It’s not at all hyperbolic to say that Buckner is the current frontrunner to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors. After all, he’s the undisputed best player on the league’s best defense through the first quarter of the season.
The Colts have obviously made a number of trades throughout their history in which they made out like bandits. Look no further than dealing Marshall Faulk to the Rams, which paved the way for the offense to be run through Peyton Manning, who obviously went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
What about the famed Erick Dickerson deal? Even the 2006 Booger McFarland trade, which bolstered the Colts’ DL in a huge way leading up to their Super Bowl run and eventual win over Chicago, was a phenomenal move. You could even throw Indy’s decision to swap places with the Jets in the 2018 Draft up there, as it resulted in the selection fo All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall.
To remain objective and not a prisoner of the moment, the Buckner trade probably can’t be compared to some of those heavyweights just yet. However, if the 26-year-old stud keeps up this ridiculous level of play, it won’t be long before it’s considered one of the best deals in Colts history.