The Kansas City Chiefs finally ran out of patience with third-year wide receiver Jon Baldwin and the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t run away fast enough from their blown 2012 draft pick, A.J. Jenkins. So both teams made a trade Monday with Baldwin heading to San Francisco to see if he can awaken from the 2-year coma he’s been in. Jenkins joins another 49ers first round bust, quarterback Alex Smith, in trying to find a fresh start in KC.
The Chiefs drafted Baldwin 26th overall from Pittsburgh in 2011. He has 10 starts in 26 regular-season games for a team that is abysmal at wide receiver outside of Dwayne Bowe. Baldwin had 41 receptions for 579 yards and two touchdowns over that span before the trade. Chiefs coach Andy Reid seemed to be losing patience with his wide receiver recently.
After Baldwin dropped a pass that Smith threw right between his jersey numbers in Friday’s preseason loss to the 49ers, Reid alluded to his patience wearing thin. “We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football,” Reid said. “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.”
The 49ers drafted Jenkins (6-0, 192 lbs) 30th overall from Illinois in 2012. In his rookie season, he ran just 35 regular-season plays (16 pass routes) over three games without making a reception. Jenkins won’t be looking for a fresh start in KC, he’ll be looking for his FIRST start.
The giant red flag in this deal is how quickly the 49ers gave up on Jenkins. It’s one thing for Reid to cut Baldwin early because Reid has no ties to drafting him and all the “blame” can be put squarely on departed general manager, Scott Pioli. However, Jenkins has been given away by a team that made him a first-round pick just 14 months ago, but could only get him on the field for 35 plays?
Usually when egos and personnel decisions are on the line, teams give first round picks a little more time to develop. After Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith, a big and physical player, completely shut Jenkins down in the preseason game Friday night, Coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke, the men that drafted Jenkins, knew he was the wrong kind of receiver to play in the suddenly vicious world of the NFC West.
So the 49ers wanted a big physical specimen like Baldwin while the Chiefs wanted a player with more speed to fit Reid’s offense. The trade makes total sense for both teams – unless you factor in the detail that neither one of these players is probably good enough to play in the NFL long term.
The Chiefs had Monday off from practice, but will begin preparing again tomorrow for this weekend’s trip to Pittsburgh for their third preseason game. It appears that the team might be putting in an actual game plan for this week, which should give fans a better perspective on how far this team needs to improve to be competitive.
Judging by the non-performance of the offensive line after the first series against the Saints two weekends ago, perhaps the Chiefs should have held out for an offensive lineman in the trade????
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