49ers defensive line roster bubble
Lock: Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Drake Jackson, Javon Kinlaw
Strong bubble: Robert Beal Jr.*, Clelin Ferrell, Kevin Givens, Kerry Hyder Jr.
Weak bubble: Alex Barrett, Austin Bryant, Kalia Davis, T.Y. McGill
Long shot: Marlon Davidson, Darryl Johnson, Spencer Waege*
The blockbuster free-agent acquisition of the offseason, Javon Hargrave, effectively means Javon Kinlaw's time with the Niners is coming to a close. Likely not this season, as Kinlaw will earn $4.9 million this year but with $2.2 million in dead money, if cut. But probably in 2024 when he becomes a free agent.
Kinlaw's new battle is for a key backup role behind the presumed starters of Hargrave, Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa. San Francisco does have some intriguing names there, too, including second-year pro Kalia Davis who redshirted his rookie season with an injury.
Yet the biggest question mark is likely who winds up being the No. 2 outside pass-rusher opposite Bosa.
Ideally, the 49ers would like second-year pro Drake Jackson to assume this role after he got off to a hot start in 2022 but flamed out down the stretch.
If not, the Niners are banking on having some more D-line reclamation projects in Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell.