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49ers trade DeForest Buckner to the Colts in exchange for a first-round pick

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WOW.

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

So much for the San Francisco 49ers having a quiet free agency. The team locked up Arik Armstead early Monday morning for another five years. Keeping Armstead was never going to be cheap. We don’t have his contract details yet, but if it’s anywhere near $17 million, that was going to make it difficult to retain Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmie Ward unless another move was made.

For the past couple of hours, we’ve seen Twitter explode with rumors about a potential trade happening surrounding either a wide receiver or a defensive lineman. The news just broke that the 49ers have traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the 13th overall pick. Buckner has already agreed to an extension with the Colts that pays him $21 million a year. That makes Buckner the second-highest-paid DT in the NFL, behind Aaron Donald.

This wasn’t a situation where the 49ers decided to pick Armstead over Buckner. They didn’t have a choice here. From people I spoke to, Buckner wanted to make Donald money, and the 49ers were not going to be able to pay him that. That’s how we ended up here. This is undoubtedly tough to swallow, knowing the type of player Buckner is. He’s incredible, and he won’t be easy to replace. From a salary cap perspective, the 49ers save $12.3 million by trading Buckner.

The 49ers now have the No. 13 and 31 overall picks. John Lynch can now move back from No. 31 and add more middle-round selections to fill out depth. The options are endless, but replacing Buckner will be the biggest challenge Lynch has faced since being able to find a quarterback.