1. DeForest Buckner, DT, Indianapolis Colts
2022 was a year to forget for the Indianapolis Colts. They finished 4-12-1 after bringing in Matt Ryan from Atlanta. It was the third season in a row they were turning to a new quarterback and this time, it was a massive drop-off for them.
Even worse was their coaching moves, which including firing the highly-respected Frank Reich (it wasn't his fault Matt Ryan aged in dog years during the offseason) and replacing him with Jeff Saturday — who had no coaching experience at all.
Unsurprisingly, this was a disaster and after the season, they were looking to shed some money from their salary cap. There were rumors of several big-name players being shopped but in the end, it was just Stephon Gilmore who was traded.
Gilmore was sent to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2023 fifth-round pick, and from there, DeForest Buckner became the name to watch. The former San Francisco defensive tackle has a cap hit of $17.25 million and while they would still take a hit for trading him, there would be a lot of cap relief as well if they made a move.
Cleveland was seen as a potential landing spot due to their need for help on the interior of their defensive line. They added Dalvin Tomlinson and while that's a major upgrade in itself, they're still not exactly deep at the position.
Adding Buckner would give them four Pro Bowl-caliber starters, thus making them even stronger contenders.