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Former 49ers DT Javon Kinlaw Signs With the Jets

Another former first round pick of the San Francisco 49ers is leaving in free agency.

Another former first round pick of the San Francisco 49ers is leaving in free agency.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is signing with the New York Jets to a one-year deal, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Kinlaw was set to become a free agent after the 49ers did not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal back in April.

It was an obvious move from the 49ers with the potential that they could bring him back on a one-year deal themselves. Well, it looks like the two sides could not come to an agreement as they part ways after four seasons.

The 49ers drafted Kinlaw in the first round of the 2020 draft. He was to be the replacement for DeForest Buckner after the 49ers traded him to the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, the 49ers underestimated Kinlaw's health. He could never play the closest to a full season until this last one in 2023 due to issues with his knee.

Kinlaw was a pretty solid player for the 49ers last season. He may not have the numbers, but that is part of being a defensive tackle. The disruption that the 49ers defensive front benefitted from in the run and pass game was valuable. Still, the history is against Kinlaw here.

Either the 49ers didn't want him back, or Kinlaw wanted a new change of scenery. Whatever the case may be, it will be interesting to see what the Jets signed Kinlaw to. I wouldn't imagine it is anything more than $4 million with incentives. Kinlaw reunites with Robert Saleh from his time as a rookie in 2020, so that might've been alluring.

Kinlaw can now be chalked up as another whiff by the 49ers in the first round of the draft under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.