San Francisco 49ers trade A.J. Jenkins to Kansas City Chiefs for Jonathan Baldwin

Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Jenkins is now officially a bust in San Francisco.

Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Jenkins is now officially a bust in San Francisco.

That materialized pretty fast. The San Francisco 49ers have sent 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs for the enigmatic Jonathan Baldwin in a deal that gives both young receivers a fresh start.

Jenkins failed to catch a single pass as a rookie last season and wasn’t impressing coaches during training camp this summer. He was a perceived reach when the 49ers took him in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. This deal pretty much magnifies the idea that Jenkins was nothing more than a wasted pick by Trent Baalke and Co,; one of their few bad selections of the past few seasons.

The Illinois product struggled getting off the line against press coverage, as his upper-body strength just seemed to never be NFL caliber. He struggled with drops and poor route running in his limited time with the 49ers.

Jonathan Baldwin, on the other hand, never really impressed the brass in Kansas City.

The former first-round pick made headlines for the wrong reasons during his first training camp back in 2011. He was involved in an altercation with then teammate Thomas Jones that resulted in Baldwin missing the remainder of the preseason with a wrist injury. In total, Baldwin caught 41 passes for nearly 600 yards and two scores in his two seasons with Kansas City.

Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson had the following to say about Baldwin less than 24 hours before this trade was announced, per ESPN.

You don’t know what you will get out of him… If he’s down from drops or mental errors or whatever it is, you just work yourself out of it. You continue to press on. We always talk about short-term memory. You have to have it in this business and move on.

Much like Jenkins in San Francisco, Baldwin wasn’t a lock to make Kansas City’s roster out of camp. He has struggled with dropped passes a great deal in his third go around in training camp and wasn’t making many fans among the Chiefs’ new coaches.

At 6’4″ and 228 pounds, Baldwin offers San Francisco something it has been looking for from a “starting receiver.” It now remains to be seen whether he’ll catch on quick enough to make an impact in 2013. Pure conjecture here, but I believe Baldwin is a lock to make the 53. He will be given a shot during the remainder of camp to prove he belongs in San Francisco’s receiver rotation until both Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham return from injury.

On the other hand, Jenkins essentially gets a new start in Kansas City. It’s not a secret that Andy Reid and Co. have been looking for a deep threat for new quarterback Alex Smith. At the very least, Jenkins has the “potential” to be that.


Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director here at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Wednesday. He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report.