2. The DeForest Buckner Trade(s)
- 49ers acquire: 14th overall pick (Javon Kinlaw), 25th overall pick (Brandon Aiyuk)
- Colts acquire: DeForest Buckner
- Buccaneers acquire: 13th overall pick (Tristan Wirfs)
- Vikings acquire: 31st overall pick (Jeff Gladney), 117th overall pick (D.J. Wonnum), 176th overall pick (K.J. Osborn)
49ers Grade: B
The 49ers made one trade before the draft (sending Buckner to the Colts for the 13th overall pick) and a pair of trades on Day 1 of the draft with the Buccaneers (moving down from 13 to 14) and Vikings (moving up from 31 to 25).
In reality, all of these trades are intertwined, since the Niners aren’t in the position to move down without the Buckner deal and don’t have the capital to move up without the trade down.
Thus, in the end, the 49ers essentially traded Buckner and their 5th-round pick for the 14th overall pick and moving up from 31 to 25.
On the surface, that’s fantastic value for a guy who immediately became one of the highest-paid interior linemen in the league. But what you do with the draft picks matters more than the expected value in trades.
While Armstead’s failure or success will reflect on the decision to move on from Buckner, the reality is much murkier.
The cap savings in average dollars is about $4 million per season, but Buckner’s contract was also frontloaded making the disparity in their 2020 cap hits over $15 million. Re-signing Ward and the likely coming extension of tight end George Kittle both needed that space.
Something had to give for the 49ers. Lynch and Shanahan have bet on their ability to replace a star with the continued development of young players and maintaining better players at other positions.