San Francisco 49ers Rumors: Aubrayo Franklin Out, Kris Jenkins In?

Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 07:  Kris Jenkins #77 of the New York Jets stands on the field against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game on December 7, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Kris Jenkins is aging and coming off an injury. He is 31, pricey and only played one game in 2010. He is on his way out of New York.

For teams in the market for a 3-4 defensive tackle, his release has to raise some eyebrows.

The 49ers have a pricey 30-year-old defensive tackle already in Aubrayo Franklin. If the 49ers release Franklin, they are going to see a serious void at defensive tackle.

While both options carry baggage, Jenkins may be more cooperative in restructuring his contract than Franklin has been.

The 49ers chose not to tag Franklin with a franchise tender this offseason. The writing is on the wall, which means unless the 49ers spend an early draft pick on a defensive tackle, Ricky Jean-Francois will make his way into the starting lineup.

This has become problematic. Even if Jean-Francois proves he is worthy of being a starter, the team is going to have to shift Isaac Sopoaga to provide depth in the middle.

All signs point to bringing in a veteran defensive tackle from outside the organization. Jenkins will likely be the best one available.

He isn't going to be able to play every down, but that wouldn't be required if he came to San Francisco.

Jean-Francois proved last season that he is more than capable of coming in and anchoring the line in a backup role, but he is still developing.

By bringing in Jenkins, the 49ers could allow him to come in and allow them a grace period for finding their new anchor to their line.

It would fill a need temporarily and allow the 49ers to eliminate one of the glaring holes on their roster heading into 2011.

Just as the 49ers may need to bring in a quarterback as a temporary solution, they may need to bring in a defensive tackle to do the same.

It gives them an opportunity to bring in the best player on their draft board without worrying about the backlash from ignoring defensive tackle prospects in the top ten.

Jenkins will need to pass a physical, and the 49ers have to assess his injury situation. It may be a huge gamble, but with the lack of cooperation from Franklin's camp, Jenkins may present just the veteran presence the 49ers need.