While the rest of the sports world that would be in season right now takes a hiatus for what figures to be eight weeks or more, the NFL is in the unique position of starting its league year and having the stage to itself for free agency and trades.
On Monday, there were a flurry of moves, with players signing extensions or agreeing to deals with new teams, franchise tags being placed on the likes of Dak Prescott, and some blockbuster trades. The biggest of those was DeAndre Hopkins being dealt to Arizona in exchange for David Johnson and a second round pick (with a swap of fourth rounders) that stunned everyone, including Madden.
However, that wasn’t the only big trade to go down on the opening of the league year as All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was traded from the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers to Indianapolis for the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft. Buckner also received a new extension from the Colts that will give him $21 million annually and make him the second highest paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL.
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2020
Trade AND deal: Colts trade first-round pick (13th overall) to 49ers for All-Pro DT DeForest Buckner, who already has agreed to a massive contract that pays him $21 million a year and makes him the second-highest paid DT in NFL history behind only Aaron Donald, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2020
While Buckner isn’t quite the household name that Hopkins is, this is a massive deal given how important he was to the Niners defense that led them to the Super Bowl. San Francisco clearly had some hesitancy in paying him on a massive new deal, but the Colts were happy to make that investment, sending out a mid-first round pick in the process.
The Niners now have a pair of first round picks which is important given that they are without their second, third, and fourth rounders this year, meaning they can either try to target two top prospects or trade back in the draft to acquire more picks with one of their firsts.