49ers finally address D-line interior after key free-agent departures

The defensive line still needs some work, but it isn't as thin as it was right at the beginning of NFL free agency.

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (96)
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (96) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The 49ers lost Javon Kinlaw and are saying goodbye to Arik Armstead, but they're also now adding former Browns defensive tackle Jordan Elliott.

The San Francisco 49ers are already losing two key cogs from the interior of their defensive line, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw.

Kinlaw is already on the move, joining the New York Jets on a one-year deal, while Armstead is likely to be a post-June 1 release to save significant cap space. He's not officially released just yet, but that transaction is merely pending.

General manager John Lynch was reportedly targeting star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, but Wilkins ultimately turned down whatever the Niners had to offer and joined the Las Vegas Raiders instead. Additionally, a potentially reunion with Denver Broncos defensive tackle D.J. Jones seems to be off the table, too, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Silver.

San Francisco has added edge rushers in NFL free agency, Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos. But the inside of the D-line is still a massive question mark.

No wonder Lynch and Co. made another D-line move on Tuesday.

49ers to sign former Browns DT Jordan Elliott to 2-year deal

To help alleviate the losses of Kinlaw and Armstead, the 49ers are onboarding former Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Jordan Elliott to a two-year deal worth up to $10 million, as reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Related story: 49ers free agency tracker 2024: Signings, departures and live updates

The 6-foot-4, 303-pound lineman broke into the league in Round 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft and spent his first four seasons with Cleveland, which operates a defense not unlike that of the Niners.

Additionally, Elliott has started 31 of 34 possible games for the Browns over the last two seasons, and he has 98 total tackles and five sacks over the entirety of his career.

Now, this move certainly won't prevent San Francisco from adding even more help for the D-line, particularly on the interior, but it does allow a little more breathing space while cutting down on desperation.

The 49ers are still likely to add another starting-caliber defensive lineman and will probably grab a few more depth pieces, too.

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