49ers Further Linked to Pro Bowl DT Amid Javon Kinlaw IR News

San Francisco 49ers, Daron Payne

Getty Potential San Francisco 49ers trade target Daron Payne.

After seemingly coming close to playing before the San Francisco 49ers‘ Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Rams, 2020 first-round pick Javon Kinlaw has officially been placed on injured reserve with a tweaked knee, marking his second trip to IR with the same injury since October 2021.

For the Niners, this is a pretty big disappointment; after trading away DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts to effectively draft his replacement, Kinlaw just hasn’t been on the field enough to make an impact for his new team and it’s very much unknown if the team will opt to extend his services into the future when his fifth-year option needs to be picked up in 2023. If John Lynch is on the fence about Kinlaw as a prospect and wants to explore other options outside of giving his snaps to the likes of Hassan Ridgeway, Kevin Givens and T.Y. McGill, Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report has a fantastic idea of how to address the position: Daron Payne of the Washington Commanders.

“If the Niners want to go all-in on building a dominant defense, Daron Payne might be the best addition available,” Ballentine wrote. “San Francisco already has a dominant defensive line, but the 25-year-old is an interior defender who would make the defensive front nearly impossible to game-plan against.”

This isn’t the first time Bleacher Report has linked the Niners to Payne, as Ballentine actually linked the Niners to the former first-round pick in an October 10 article titled NFL Teams That Desperately Need to Strike a Trade Before the Deadline.

And there’s a good reason why this potential union has persisted: It makes a ton of sense.

Daron Payne Is a Plug-And-Play Rusher to Pair With Arik Armstead

If the 49ers want to pursue fortifying their defensive line with a 25-year-old bull rusher capable of winning at the point of attack while drawing double-teams, there are few options potentially available at the 2022 NFL trade deadline who could seamlessly fill the role better than Payne, as Ballentine further detailed in his story.

“According to Seth Walder of ESPN, Payne is among the top defensive tackles in pass-rush win rate and still draws double teams on over 50 percent of his pass-rushing reps. With Armstead and Kinlaw dealing with injuries, he would be able to hold down the inside in their absence.”

If the 49ers are willing to pay the price Payne could demand, which Jerry Trotta of Riggo’s Rag suggests could fall in the “a Day 2 pick and a fourth-rounder” range, bringing the former Alabama product to the Bay Area and handing him a long-term contract could bode well for the effectiveness of the front seven regardless of whether or not the team can retain DeMeco Ryans in 2023 as the defensive coordinator.

The San Francisco 49ers Expected a Javon Kinlaw Setback

When discussing the decision to place Kinlaw on IR, Kyle Shanahan detailed how the team expected a setback from the Southern Carolina product, as transcribed by Nick Wagoner of ESPN.

“We expected some of this going through the offseason,” Shanahan said October 7. “We knew some things would act up on him. It has.”

If Shanahan’s words are true, the way the 49ers addressed the position in an interesting way over the offseason, adding Ridgeway and McGill in free agency and opting to address the defensive line with defensive end Drake Johnson and defensive tackle Kalia Davis in the draft. Fortunately, if Lynch is feeling some buyer’s remorse, he can always extend a call to Landover, Maryland to see if he can make a deal for a shiny new defensive Pro Bowler.

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