Colts Extend DT DeForest Buckner

APRIL 17: The Colts are guaranteeing nearly this entire pact, which reminds of the structure the Texans authorized for Danielle Hunter. Of Buckner’s $46MM, $43.25MM is guaranteed at signing. Both Buckner’s 2024 and ’25 base salaries ($2.25MM, $13MM) are fully guaranteed, per OverTheCap.

This profiles as a great deal for Buckner, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicating $10MM of his $13MM 2026 base salary shifts from an injury guarantee to a full guarantee in 2025. This would bump the practical guarantee in this through-2026 deal to $53.25MM. Indy used two void years for bonus proration purposes. The extension dropped Buckner’s 2024 cap number to $8.35MM, saving more than $14MM. Even with the void years, Buckner’s cap number spikes to $26.6MM in 2025.

APRIL 15: DeForest Buckner has become the latest defensive tackle to benefit from the position’s surging market. The three-time Pro Bowler agreed to a two-year, $46MM extension on Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The deal is now official, per a team announcement.

The past two offseasons has seen a number of defensive tackle contributors land lucrative new deals, especially ascending players at the position securing second contracts. That does not apply in Buckner’s case, but the 30-year-old has been as advertised during his time in Indianapolis. In four years since Buckner was acquired via trade, he has racked up 32.5 sacks and (in the 2020 campaign) his lone career first-team All-Pro nod.

One year remained on the former 49er’s existing deal – a four-year, $84 pact signed upon arrival in Indianapolis – and he was set to carry a 2024 cap hit of $22.75MM. Schefter’s colleague Stephen Holder notes that figure could change with Buckner now on the books through 2026, but he adds the Colts rarely elect to backload extensions such as this one. In any case, he will carry a similar cost for the next two seasons ($23MM AAV) compared to his current pact.

Buckner has missed just one game during his Colts run, and he has remained a consistent producer during his time with the team. He has made between 58 and 81 tackles each season with Indianapolis, with the latter figure (posted in 2023) representing a career high. The former first-rounder has added between 21 and 26 QB hits each year in that span, and he will be expected to remain a top producer on the Colts’ defense for the intermediate future with this new deal now in hand.

Indianapolis has been busy this offseason with respect to retaining key players on both sides of the ball. That has included new deals for the likes of cornerback Kenny Moore and safety Julian Blackmon, along with an extension for linebacker Zaire Franklin. On offense, wideout Michael Pittman Jr. saw his time attached to a franchise tag come to an end once a three-year, $70MM deal was worked out.

Along the defensive line, the Colts have also elected to return much of the core which was in place last year. Grover Stewart and Tyquan Lewis each signed new deals in March, and the former is on the books for the next three years while the latter is in place for the next two. Stewart in particular has been a key figure in the Colts’ defensive interior, serving as a full-time starter for each of the past five years. His partnership alongside Buckner is now set to continue beyond 2024.

Buckner entered Monday ranked 11th in the league in terms of annual average compensation amongst defensive tackles. Seeing a slight bump in that regard will move him back into the top 10 with this pact, one which ensures he will remain a focal point of Indianapolis’ front seven for at least the next few years.

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