In a trade where former first-round wide receiver draft picks were involved, the 49ers acquired Jon Baldwin from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for A.J. Jenkins on Monday morning. The 49ers get a wide receiver who hasn't lived up to expectations while in Kansas City in Baldwin.
Baldwin is a 6-4, 230 pound wide receiver who has the proper size with respectable speed. The bigger issue with him was the inconsistent hands throughout his tenure on the Chiefs. New head coach Andy Reid said he failed in that department.
"We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football,” Reid said told the media last weekend. “That’s how it works and he knows that and I know that. When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity. He needs to keep playing, and [when] given the opportunity, he needs to take advantage of it.”
During the preseason game against the 49ers, Baldwin had a dropped pass and was targeted another time which resulted in an incompletion. He looked lost and played a limited number of snaps which was disappointing.
In this trade, both teams have the need for a depth receiver as Jenkins and Baldwin have not performed up to where their respective teams wanted them. For his last two seasons, he had 579 receiving yards and two touchdowns combined.
There is no guarantee he will make the roster with Jim Harbaugh saying on Sunday that Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore are the clear leaders at the WR position. The 49ers 2013 fourth-round pick Quinton Patton is most likely to have a spot on the team.
Baldwin will have to earn his spot on the roster and compete with six other receivers throughout the rest of practice. Austin Collie, Chad Hall, Kassim Osgood, Lavelle Hawkins, 2012 practice squad member Ricardo Lockette and rookie Chuck Jacobs.
Jenkins struggled in his time with the 49ers due to his inability to handle the NFL level of cornerbacks. He was seen on the field, but well-covered against the opposition. Baldwin has the size and tight end-like frame where he could be a weapon.
A factor as to why Baldwin couldn't produce was how the Chiefs had a poor quarterback and offensive line situation last year with Matt Cassel throwing the ball. This prompted the team to trade with the 49ers for Alex Smith earlier this year.
It won't be easy for Baldwin, but he has his work cut out for him when he arrives in Santa Clara and works on an uphill battle against the other 49ers wide receivers.