Sources: Colts DT Buckner gets $46M extension

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have locked in another key piece of their core.

In a continuation of moves made this spring, the Colts signed star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to an extension Monday. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that it’s a two-year deal for $46 million and runs through the 2026 season.

The deal comes as the Colts report this week for voluntary offseason workouts and preempts what would have been a contract year for one of the team’s captains and most productive players. He was entering the final year of a four-year, $84 million contract signed after joining the Colts in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, when he was a first-team All-Pro selection.

“DeForest has been the epitome of what it means to be a Colt the last four years,” general manager Chris Ballard said in a statement. “As one of the premier defensive tackles in the league, he is a destructive force on our defensive line. DeForest is one of the pillars of our locker room. His hard work, consistency and approach to the game are vital to the success of our team.”

The move is the latest by Indianapolis to solidify one of its foundational players after numerous other re-signings earlier in the offseason. The Colts had already committed roughly $190 million in new money to extensions for a group of returning players that includes receiver Michael Pittman Jr., cornerback Kenny Moore II, nose tackle Grover Stewart and linebacker Zaire Franklin.

Meanwhile, the team largely eschewed the temptation to acquire outside free agents, instead doubling down on its in-house talent as it tries to make a playoff run with the return of quarterback Anthony Richardson from a shoulder injury.

“Different is not always better,” Ballard said recently when asked about the approach.

For the 30-year-old Buckner, the $23 million average annual value in his new deal ranks fifth among defensive tackles, behind Kansas City’s Chris Jones (31.75 million), Las Vegas’ Christian Wilkins ($27.5 million), Baltimore’s Justin Madubuike ($24.5 million) and Carolina’s Derrick Brown ($24 million).

Buckner has been consistently productive for the Colts. According to ESPN Analytics and NFL Next Gen Stats, he has “created” 44 sacks when lined up as a defensive tackle since 2017 — fourth most in the NFL. (A sack created is credited to the first player to record a pass-rush win on a sack play.)

Since entering the league in 2016, Buckner has the fourth-most sacks as an interior defensive lineman, behind Aaron Donald (68.5), Jones (60.5) and Cameron Heyward (56.5) — despite drawing consistent double-teams from opponents. He has the fourth-highest double-team rate as a defensive tackle since 2020 (65%).

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