Jets To Sign DT Javon Kinlaw

Despite the 49ers planning to cut Arik Armstead, they are not re-signing Javon Kinlaw. Instead, the defensive coordinator in place when the team drafted Kinlaw will take a flier.

Kinlaw will sign a one-year contract with the Jets, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This will reunite Kinlaw with Robert Saleh, who coached the former first-round pick in 2020. Saleh, who had also brought in Solomon Thomas from his 49ers days, will see if he can generate quality work from Kinlaw.

Injuries played the lead role in Kinlaw disappointing as a 49ers draftee. The South Carolina alum, brought in with the draft choice the Colts sent over for DeForest Buckner in 2020, struggled to stay healthy. Kinlaw missed 24 games between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, with knee trouble primarily plaguing the former No. 14 overall pick. But he did stay healthy last season, suiting up for all 20 49ers games.

Kinlaw appeared in 14 games (12 starts) in his rookie season, but he played in just four contests in 2021 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery (which was later reported to be an ACL reconstruction). While Kinlaw played well enough to land on the All-Rookie team in 2020, his knee trouble dates back to his college days. That will lead to this one-year agreement. Last season, however, Kinlaw totaled a career-high 3.5 sacks, adding two tackles for loss in the playoffs.

The Jets have Quinnen Williams anchoring their D-tackle contingent, but Thomas, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods are free agents. San Francisco only used Kinlaw as a six-game starter last season. The Jets’ situation points to more DT pieces, probably at least one more starter-caliber option, being added this offseason.

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