49ers Balked At DeForest Buckner’s Price

After months of rumors indicating the 49ers’ priority hierarchy placed George Kittle and DeForest Buckner extensions atop the franchise’s agenda, Buckner is now a Colt and Arik Armstead has a long-term 49ers contract. Buckner’s 11th-hour negotiations with the 49ers appear to have been a fork-in-the-road moment for the franchise.

The 49ers began talking an extension with their standout defensive tackle last year, only to table a Buckner deal until 2020. However, after those discussions produced a price the 49ers deemed too high, the team began holding trade talks at the Combine, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

Buckner’s agent and the 49ers engaged in discussions at the Combine as well, per Barrows. That may have been a last-ditch effort, based on what happened next. The sides were far apart on extension value as far back as May 2019. Two weeks after the 49ers searched for trade partners, the Combine’s host team came in with a successful offer.

The Colts valued Buckner immensely, authorizing a $21MM-per-year deal. That price is just $1.5MM off Aaron Donald‘s AAV and worth more than any edge rusher not named Khalil Mack. The 49ers then signed Armstead to a five-year, $85MM deal. While saving $4MM per year by pivoting to an Armstead re-up over a Buckner deal, the 49ers will also gamble on the former’s contract year compared to the latter’s superior body of work. Of course, San Francisco also holds the No. 13 overall pick now and still employs four former first-round picks along its defensive line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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8 comments on “49ers Balked At DeForest Buckner’s Price

  1. julyn82001

    Still, Buckner will be solely missed. Some component parts – in business or sports – are just irreplaceable…

    • crosseyedlemon

      He’s a potential future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Niners regress back to 4-12.

      • DVail1979

        Do you truly believe Buckner is worth 9 wins? Not saying you’re wrong if you do believe so … genuinely asking …

        • crosseyedlemon

          No single player (aside from maybe a kicker) can be worth more than a couple of wins in a team sport where there are 53 man rosters. Losing a star player can however trigger a snowball effect where the end result is a large regression in overall team performance.

  2. Afk711

    Letting him go was a huge mistake. Armstead was replaceable. Buckner is not.

  3. 49ers16to87

    Obviously this trade will be graded based on the success of 13 pick or how it’s tuned into multiple picks.

  4. mlbnyyfan

    I’m not a 49er fan but who’s better Buckner or Armstead? Did they keep wrong player?

  5. All American Johnsonville Dogs

    Trading him was the right move.

    How many teams have been hit hard cap wise due paying guys like these such huge sums.

    Get got the #13 pick. You either draft his replacement in Derrick Brown, draft a #1 receiver in Jeudy Lamb Ruggs, or you trade back and target someone else.

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