Fellow d-lineman Arik Armstead felt the exact same way. He joined KNBR and was asked what his reaction was when he found out John Lynch traded the 26-year-old Pro Bowler. (H/T NBC Sports’ Ali Thanwalla)
“It was a shock. You know, I was confused and I didn’t really expect that. Super excited and happy for him. Me and him actually have been working out for a few weeks now, so we’ve been able to hang out and talk about it. God works in mysterious ways and we both believe things happen for a reason. It’s going to be weird not playing alongside each other anymore like we have done for about eight years, but I know he’s going to do amazing things up there with the Colts. I’m super happy for him.”
Armstead signed a five-year extension worth up to $85 million with the Niners just hours before we heard about the Buckner trade. The two combined for 17.5 sacks last season and helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl.
Buckner and Armstead also played college football together at Oregon from 2012 to 2014, so their personal relationship is still well intact. Armstead added that the two are still training together go gear up for the 2020 season.
It will be interesting to see how Lynch proceeds with trying to replace Buckner, which will not be easy. Buckner routinely drew double teams and helped the Niners’ pass rush develop into what it is today.
The 49ers could draft a replacement, such as Javon Kinlaw if he is available, pick someone in the later rounds, or go with an in-house option, like D.J. Jones, Ronald Blair or Julian Taylor.
The Buckner trade hurt, but it obviously didn’t come about because of performance issues, instead, this was strictly a financial decision.
Who do you think will take a majority of Buckner’s snaps next season?