John Lynch reflects on decision to trade DeForest Buckner to Colts
The San Francisco 49ers entered the offseason with salary cap issues, which meant that there were probably going to be a couple of casualties along the roster.
That became even more abundantly clear after the 49ers handed defensive lineman Arik Armstead a massive five-year, $85 million contract extension.
Not long after Armstead’s deal, San Francisco traded fellow defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, breaking up a rather lethal combination on the interior of the Niners’ defensive front.
General manager John Lynch recently reflected on his decision to trade Buckner:
“We wanted to keep both him and Armstead in the worst way,” said Lynch, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “And then we had to start looking at every iteration. Okay, what if we keep Armstead under the franchise tag and we keep Buckner? We looked at every different way it could work. Our motivation certainly wasn’t getting rid of Buckner, because he’s one of our best players, and one of our best people. He embodies 49er way.”
But Lynch says that the haul the 49ers received from the Colts for Buckner was just too much to turn down:
“Not only did he bring back a first-round pick, he brought back the 13th pick,” Lynch said. “And then, it’s like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t think he’d do that.’ By that point, you start looking at how we can keep our team together. And I guess a long story short, it’s not something we wanted to do, but at a certain point, we felt like that was the best decision.”
Buckner spent the first four seasons of his career in the Bay Area, making a Pro Bowl appearance in 2018. He is coming off of a 2019-20 campaign in which he played every game and logged 62 tackles and 7.5 sacks.