It’s official — Jon Baldwin is now a complete bust for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 26th overall draft pick in 2011 has moved on to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a disappointing first-round pick from 2012.
Baldwin was a gamble in the 2011 draft with questions of maturity issues but had enormous potential. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound wideout ran a 4.5, 40-yard dash and flashed great athletic ability. Unfortunately, one of the first things he did in Kansas City was break his thumb in a fight with Thomas Jones causing him to miss his first five games.
With his physical tools, there has been a lot of hope he would fulfill said potential, but it just hasn’t happened. In two seasons, Baldwin has compiled just 41 receptions for 579 yards with two TDs. After yet another disappointing training camp, the Chiefs have lost patience and are going to try their luck with Jenkins.
In his rookie season with the 49ers, Jenkins played in three games and did not catch a single pass. He has been underwhelming in the preseason this year as well with just one catch in two games with a fumble lost.
For both of these players, a change of scenery could be beneficial and neither team had anything to lose from this trade. Since coming to Kansas City, Baldwin has been dropping catchable passes with no signs of improvement, and the Chiefs have too many players on their roster with suspect hands. In the 49ers’ case, they may have been close to cutting Jenkins already, so getting anything for him makes sense.
It would have been nice for Kansas City to have a big target like Baldwin on the outside, but his inconsistency made him too much of a liability. The Chiefs will still have plenty of large targets as they have been involving the tight ends much more in the passing game under Coach Andy Reid. Seeing what they can do with the speedy Jenkins is definitely worth a shot.
You have to believe Kansas City knows what they are doing here. The only person who has worked with both receivers is Alex Smith who was with San Francisco last season, and it’s highly unlikely the Chiefs made this trade without his input.