ESPN calls Colts star a ‘surprise candidate’

ESPN calls Colts star a ‘surprise candidate’


ESPN listed the Indianapolis Colts’ star quarterback as a surprise trade candidate this offseason.

The NFL trade deadline passed quietly for the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday afternoon.
We’re about halfway through the 2023 season and some media outlets are looking at the offseason prospects and potential trade candidates.
One of them is ESPN’s Dan Graziano, who noted ESPN defensive tackle DeForest Buckner as an unexpected candidate this season.
“Buckner remains one of the best defensive inside linebackers and is certainly a candidate for an extension,” Graziano wrote for ESPN.
“He had four sacks and two forced fumbles in 2023.
But the Colts are playing a different defense since they acquired him at 49, and he turns 30 in March.”

In addition, Buckner will receive a non-guaranteed salary of $20.25 million in 2024, the final year of his contract.
“The Colts have a good track record of cap space through 2024 and with Anthony Richardson on his rookie contract, there is no financial reason to move Buckner off the cap.
However, if he decides to do so thing, they will have to plan or do something else.
do it.\” ”

The Colts may decide they’d be better off releasing a draft pick and $18 million in cap space next season.
But Buckner is still playing at a high level, and shot protection is one of the hardest to find in the NFL.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked Buckner 21st out of 125 eligible defensive tackles, despite the Colts’ defensive struggles.
Buckner theoretically has four to five good years left in him, and if Shane Steichen’s rebuild goes according to plan, the Colts will be firmly in the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The Colts are about $63 million short of the cap in 2024, including Buckner’s $20 million cap hit and before factoring in cap increases.
Fellow quarterbacks Grover Stewart and Kenny Moore will be free agents in 2024 but won’t receive significant raises in 2023, earning $10.2 million and $8.3 million, respectively.

Michael Pittman opted out of his rookie contract and received a significant raise from the $2.2 million he was paid this season.
The Indianapolis cornerbacks have shown they can score under center Anthony Richardson and coach Shane Steichen’s Gardner Minshew.

They have had a hard time stopping teams recently.
They have conceded 35 losses in each of their last three games.
All were defeated. They have the worst scoring defense in the NFL.

In his column, Graziano noted that some surprising candidates are being traded.
The financial flexibility of the Buckner contract makes it flexible.
The best players don’t need defensive battles.
It would be a huge surprise for the Colts to trade Buckner.


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