No. 3: 49ers Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw
For the third and final player the 49ers should consider trading, head to the other side of the ball to defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
To be clear, this is not an anti-Kinlaw take. Rather, this trade might just be in the best interest of all parties and allow Kinlaw to continue to develop into the elite player he is capable of becoming.
Kinlaw has not had the smoothest start to his NFL career. After being drafted with the 14th overall pick in 2020 to replace former 49ers star DeForest Buckner, Kinlaw has struggled with injury, primarily with a lingering knee issue.
When on the field, Kinlaw has produced at a high level, however, he has struggled to be on the field. There is no question about Kinlaw’s talent, however, there are many questions about his availability and durability.
Those questions are undoubtedly huge factors in why the 49ers signed former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in their biggest move of the offseason so far.
Hargrave is being paid as a star tackle, which is something the 49ers’ front office would not do if they thought Kinlaw could be the player they drafted him to be.
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However, Kinlaw is still an incredibly talented player. In his brief appearances, he has flashed the explosive athleticism that made him a first-round pick. Plenty of NFL teams will, likely correctly, see Kinlaw’s potential and believe that he can produce at a high level. Because of his draft pedigree, the Niners could likely recoup a fair bit of draft capital for him and use that to get younger at other positions while allowing Arik Armstead and Hargrave to dominate the interior line.
It also could be best for Kinlaw to move to a team that’s not expecting him to fill Buckner’s previous role from day one. This is a move that benefits not only the 49ers’ roster, but also allows them to put Kinlaw in the best situation for him to succeed, and is one the team needs to consider.