Addition of Javon Kinlaw bolsters Jets interior pass rush rotation

The New York Jets get some much-needed help along the interior defensive line, signing former San Francisco 49er Javon Kinlaw to a one-year deal, according to Adam Schefter.

The contract specifics for Kinlaw have not yet been reported, but for what it’s worth, PFF projected that he would land a one-year deal in the $5.5 million range.

A former first-round pick by San Francisco in 2020, an ACL injury in 2021 would derail Kinlaw’s sophomore season following a rookie season where he appeared in 14 games.

Between 2021 and 2022, Kinlaw would appear in only 10 total games, leading to the 49ers declining his fifth-year option for the 2024 season, making him a free agency.

However, between Kinlaw’s fifth-year option getting declined and where we are today, he played in all 17 regular season games for the 49ers and all three playoff games as well.

As a rotational defender, Kinlaw would play the third-most interior defensive line snaps on the 49ers, behind only Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead. His 35 pressures were the fifth-most on the team and league-wide. Kinlaw ranked 38th out of 129 interior defenders in PFF’s pass-rush win-rate metric.

Two factors in particular were crucial in Kinlaw having a bounce-back season in 2023: for one, he was healthy throughout the offseason and better prepared, and two, was becoming much more consistent.

“I think the number one thing with him is he’s healthy, unlike he’s been in the past,” said former defensive coordinator Steve Wilks in December. “And then there’s one word that you’re alluding to, which is he’s playing consistent. He’s really been consistent these last couple of weeks.

“I love the way he’s playing with lower pad level. Really as we talk about all the time, trying to create a new line of scrimmage, playing on their side of the ball. Everything we do is about penetration and you can see that with him.”

Listed at 6’5” – 320 pounds, Kinlaw can eat up space in the middle, but where he needs to continue to find more consistency is holding up at the point of attack in the run game.

Coming to the Jets, there will be some familiarity for Kinlaw, having spent his rookie season with Robert Saleh, who was the San Francisco defensive coordinator at that time.

Of the Jets’ top four interior defensive linemen from the 2023 season in terms of total snaps played, Quinnen Williams is the only one under contract prior to free agency. Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson, and Al Woods are all unrestricted free agents.

So, along with needing to simply add depth to what is a heavily rotated position group where oftentimes four defenders see snaps each week, the Jets also need to find an impact player or two to partner with Williams.

Whether it be through the draft or free agency, such as re-signing Jefferson, the Jets’ work is not done when it comes to this position group.

Kinlaw will become an immediate member of the Jets’ interior defensive line rotation, and if Joe Douglas can add the right players around him and Williams, Kinlaw’s ideal role will come on third downs or obvious passing situations where he can get after the quarterback.

In Salehs’ defense, which does not often blitz, creating quarterback pressure depends heavily on the defensive front consistently winning its matchups.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire