Jets Land Former Top 14 Pick in Blockbuster 49ers Trade Proposal

Javon Kinlaw, 49ers

Getty San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw running onto the football field ahead of an NFL game.

The New York Jets finally checked off a big item on their bucket list when they signed free agent linebacker Kwon Alexander.

That’ll ensure depth and give them a nice leader for the locker room. However, the work isn’t done for general manager Joe Douglas ahead of the 2022 season.

There is still some room to pull off a blockbuster trade that could add the missing piece to this defense.

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A Tasty Opportunity

A blockbuster trade proposal that could make sense is pairing wide receiver Denzel Mims and a 2023 fourth-rounder in a package to land 49ers defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw.

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic said Douglas “isn’t done making notable additions to the roster” following the Alexander news.

He said fans should expect the team to add a “veteran defensive tackle” at some point.

That is arguably the last missing piece of the puzzle for this Jets defense to be complete. You could nitpick a few other areas like safety, but the last glaring weakness is a menacing defensive tackle to pair up with Quinnen Williams on the inside.

With the Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, and Chris Herndon trades all accounted for, the Jets don’t have any extra ammunition in the draft treasure chest.

So if they want to pull off a significant move they’ll have to get creative. One way they can do that is by throwing a player and picks into a deal to make up the difference.

This offseason head coach Robert Saleh has been adding multiple former San Francisco 49ers members to his roster. With guys like Solomon Thomas, Marcell Harris, DJ Reed Jr, and now Alexander in the fold the only natural follow-up question is who’s next?

Kinlaw could be the perfect fit for the Jets in 2022.

Risk It to Get the Biscuit

The 24-year-old still has two years left on his rookie deal plus the fifth-year option (a decision the Jets would have to make after this upcoming season).

Kinlaw originally entered the league as the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Late during his rookie season, he battled COVID which affected the end of that campaign. Then the following year he underwent knee surgery that held him to only four games.

Although in limited opportunities (18 games over two years) he has shown some intriguing pop:

  • 1.5 sacks
  • 41 combined tackles
  • Five quarterback hits

Coming out of South Carolina, NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein described him as a prospect with “boom-or-bust” potential.

The measurables are insane (6-foot-5, 324 pounds) and he possesses so many elite physical gifts. Zierlein says on tape you can often see him overwhelm opponents with his raw ability, but sometimes he isn’t able to harness it and gets lost.

That is where Saleh comes in. He cut his teeth on the defensive side of the ball and his schemes put defensive linemen in positions to succeed. Saleh can take this talented ball of clay and mold him into a cornerstone piece for this Jets defense.

The 49ers and Jets have eerily similar concepts and Kinlaw hasn’t been able to put it all together due to a series of unfortunate events. In this trade, the Jets could get a guy for 10 cents on the dollar and fill their biggest remaining need on the defensive side of the ball.

Douglas has never been a guy who is willing to throw around his picks willy-nilly, but by pairing a player in Mims who is turning heads early at practice and a mid-rounder (2023 fourth-round pick) the reward far outweighs the risk.

If this move pans out the Jets, they could have a borderline top-12 defense in the NFL and that could prove to be the foundation of a potential playoff team in 2022.

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