Congratulations are in order for San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. He is headed to the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando later next week as a replacement for injured Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox Buckner joins fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle representing the 49ers.
Buckner had a breakout 2018 season, registering a career high 12 sacks. He had 67 tackles, three passes defensed, and one fumble recovery. He finished fourth in the NFC in sacks, and had the most single season sacks by a 49ers player since Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks in 2012. Among defensive tackles, Buckner ranked 14th in PFF’s pass rush productivity and sixth in total quarterback pressures.
The coming offseason is a big one for Buckner and the 49ers. He just completed his third season, which means he is eligible for a contract extension. The 49ers also have to decide by May whether or not to exercise his fifth year option. The question is not whether or not they will exercise the option, but whether or not both sides are interested in negotiating a long-term extension instead. Odds are pretty good the option will be exercised and any extension won’t come until later this year at the earliest.
The 49ers front office is comfortable giving out extensions before they “have” to, but if Buckner improves on his 2018 season, he’s looking at a deal that would put him near the top of the market. And if the 49ers add a premium edge rusher and/or a big cornerback option this offseason, it could bode well for Buckner improving on his career high sack total in 2019.