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DL Javon Kinlaw Signs with Jets

Former First-Round Pick Reunites With Head Coach Robert Saleh


The Jets have signed defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who formerly played for the 49ers.

Kinlaw (6-5, 319), a first-round pick (No. 14) by San Francisco in 2020, played 17 games (6 starts) last season and recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks to go with 25 tackles, 3 pass defenses and 6 QB hits. He battled injuries in 2021 and 2022 playing just 10 games over the two seasons. He did, however, start in all three playoff games for the 49ers after the 2022 regular season and three more this past season as the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl (losing to Kansas City).

As a rookie in 2020, Kinlaw played for current Jets HC Robert Saleh when he was the 49ers defensive coordinator. He registered 1.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, 33 tackles, had a 27-yard pick-6 against the Rams and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team.

"I love his mindset, I love his practice habits," Saleh said of Kinlaw in 2021. "I love his want for more knowledge and because of it, I just think once he puts together a great NFL offseason and continues to build all that strength that he has and really homes in on his weight, he learned what kind of weight he wants to play at, and so I just think the sky's the limit for him. I think he's going to be very, very disruptive in there. I think he's going to be a force on the interior defensive line for a while."

The 49ers declined the fifth-year option on Kinlaw's rookie contract leading him to reunite with Saleh on the Green & White in 2024. The veteran defensive lineman played in a rotational role for San Francisco, similar to the one the Jets run in New York. Kinlaw played 43.6% (476) of the defensive snaps for the 49ers last season and should be a good fit next to the Pro Bowl DT Quinnen Williams.

In addition, Kinlaw played three standout seasons at South Carolina before being drafted. As a senior in 2019, he had 6 sacks, 35 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 pass defenses in 12 games en route to First Team All-SEC honors.