4 players the San Francisco 49ers should let leave in free agency

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the deepest teams in the NFL, but they'll lose some free agents this offseason.

Chase Young could be in line for a big payday this offseason. Should the 49ers be the team to give it to him?
Chase Young could be in line for a big payday this offseason. Should the 49ers be the team to give it to him? / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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3) 49ers defensive line is dominant enough without Javon Kinlaw

Nearly every corner of San Francisco's offense is overflowing with talent, but the defense is stacked, too. Fred Warner leads one of the league's best linebacker groups, and while Dre Greenlaw is a free agent, his contributions probably necessitate Lynch bringing him back.

The secondary is outstanding as well, with Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Ji'Ayir Brown, and Tashaun Gipson, plus Talanoa Hufanga returning next year from a torn ACL. Gipson is a free agent, but he's played the last two years on a cheap contract, and will probably either do the same next year or retire.

That leaves the defensive line, and other than star defensive end Nick Bosa, the entire position group is in a state of flux. Randy Gregory and Chase Young were midseason rentals acquired in trades, and both of their contracts are up. Clelin Ferrell recorded only 3.5 sacks in his first season with the Niners, and he's missed the entire playoffs with a knee injury.

Unlike the above three players, Javon Kinlaw has spent his whole career in San Francisco, having been drafted by the Niners in 2020. It doesn't seem like he'll remain in San Francisco next year, though. For one thing, the Niners declined Kinlaw's fifth-year option, which is usually a telltale sign that a split is imminent. Secondly, Kinlaw has had difficulties staying on the field, playing in only 41 of a possible 67 games. And finally, his production just hasn't been there. Kinlaw had only 3.5 sacks and 25 tackles this year, and PFF graded him at a detention-level 49.6. Look for him to be wearing colors other than red and gold next season.