49ers roster: 5 creative trades John Lynch could execute in 2022

San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Javon Kinlaw, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Creative Trade No. 2: 49ers trade Javon Kinlaw to Chargers

San Francisco is likely to have to take a loss on this one.

Third-year defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is shaping up to be a disappointment after being the 49ers’ top selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. After a so-so rookie season that year, Kinlaw managed to play in only four games in 2021 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery that puts his impactful status for 2022 in serious doubt.

True, the Niners have long cherished their defensive line rotation, and there’s little doubting Kinlaw could still play a big role. But they also got by just fine without him by moving defensive end Arik Armstead inside the D-line and playing soon-to-be free-agent nose tackle D.J. Jones more on passing downs.

If Jones is re-signed, Kinlaw is poised not to see as many snaps as he otherwise was intended to back when he was drafted.

So, why not recoup some kind of asset before Kinlaw hits year three of his rookie contract, which will be worth over $4 million?

If San Francisco could wait until after June 1, the dead money associated with a Kinlaw trade would be roughly $2 million, making the deal a little easier to absorb. And few teams out there need as much interior D-line help than the Los Angeles Chargers, who stand to lose defensive tackle Linval Joseph this offseason in free agency anyway.

The Bolts have plenty of draft assets at their disposal and can bank on Kinlaw bouncing back at this stage of his still-young career, and a fourth-round selection would be enough to boost their own defense while allowing the 49ers to walk away from the Kinlaw experiment without too much of a hit.