The 49ers and star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner have had contract negotiations for a long-term deal, but but they remain far apart on terms, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Agent Chafie Fields has talked with team brass over the last few days, but there is no deal in sight.
The Niners exercised Buckner’s fifth-year option last week and a long-term pact remains a priority for the club. The former No. 7 overall pick is coming off a breakout 2018 campaign in which he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 23rd-best defensive lineman. He started all 16 games, and racked up 12 sacks while also being a force against the run.
For now, the fifth-year option is slated to pay Buckner $12.378MM in 2020. The Niners can ill-afford to lose him after that, especially since 2017’s No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas hasn’t panned out so far.
The good news for the 49ers is that Buckner isn’t necessarily in a rush to ink a multi-year pact.
“We’ve had conversations here and there. Honestly, it’s very early,” Buckner said in April. “Just because I’m eligible for a new contract going into my fourth year, it’s still very early in the process.”
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