2. DeForest Buckner, DT
In addition to trading Stephon Gilmore, the Colts also released Matt Ryan after just one season. It was a move that needed to happen but it also highlights the current state of their roster.
Indianapolis is entering a rebuilding mode under new head coach Shane Steichen and they’re shedding salary as they prepare for this. That means they could potentially be willing to listen to offers for another star defender, DeForest Buckner.
Set to turn 29 in March, Buckner was the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Oregon. He started his career with the San Francisco 49ers and had 263 tackles and 28.5 sacks in four seasons.
Ahead of the 2020 campaign, he was traded to the Colts in exchange for the 13th pick in the upcoming draft. He then agreed to terms on a new deal, securing a four-year, $84 million extension. He didn’t disappoint in his new home, racking up 200 tackles and 24.5 sacks the past three seasons.
Heading into the 2023 season, Buckner is in the final year of his contract and the Colts would save $19.75 million against the cap, with no dead money, by trading him. Dallas, who needs a difference-maker on the interior of their line, would have to get creative to make such a move work but it can be done.
And while Jerry Jones struggles to figure out how to pay top-tier talent while also having an expensive quarterback, he can get some advice on how to navigate the cap by asking literally every other team in the NFL.
Should they be willing to do this, it would ensure they had one of the top defenses in the league.