49ers tough decision No. 3: Keep Javon Kinlaw on the roster
Though no serious fault of his own, three-year defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has been a major disappointment since the Niners grabbed him in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Mainly due to chronic knee injuries, Kinlaw’s 2022 campaign was almost non-existent, and now he heads into a massive turning-point offseason where he could either push to resurrect his career or wind up being jettisoned before his rookie deal runs out.
Not unlike San Francisco’s top pick from the 2017 draft, defensive end Solomon Thomas, whose fifth-year option wasn’t picked up to no surprise.
However, the 49ers may simply opt to cut bait a year earlier.
Kinlaw has appeared in just 13 games out of 40 over the last two seasons, and it’s safe to say the Niners haven’t gotten an adequate return on their investment in him.
If they feel someone else is worth that roster spot and can stay healthy while contributing, perhaps Kinlaw is prematurely shown the door.