The Kansas City Chiefs decided to move on from the Jon Baldwin experiment Monday and traded the disappointing wide receiver to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the similarly-disappointing A.J. Jenkins.
Baldwin and Jenkins were first-round picks a year apart and both could benefit from a change in scenery. At the very least, the Chiefs add a receiver in Jenkins that is familiar with Smith from their time together in San Francisco last season.
When the Chiefs selected Baldwin with the 26th pick in the 2011 draft, they knew he came with plenty of red flags. But at 6’4″, 220, he looked like the type of athlete that could feast on defenses trying to slow down Dwayne Bowe.
Instead of stepping in to the offense and being a weapon for QB Matt Cassel, Baldwin broke his wrist in a locker-room fight with RB Thomas Jones. That incident delayed his debut until Week 7.
Baldwin quickly showed he might be able to contribute when he caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in just his second career game. That performance earned him a nomination for Rookie of the Week and made some think the fight might be quickly forgotten.
That game, however, ended up being the highlight of Baldwin’s time with the Chiefs. Over the next 24 games, the receiver never put up more than 64 yards and only caught one touchdown.
Other than not being involved in a brawl with a teammate, Jenkins was even more of a letdown than Baldwin. As a rookie in 2012, Jenkins only appeared in three games for the 49ers and failed to catch a single pass.
In a statement, Chiefs GM John Dorsey said he likes what Jenkins brings to the table.
“A.J. is a talented individual with a skillset that we feel can add value to our football team. Jon Baldwin is a hardworking player and a professional. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
That skillset Dorsey mentions mainly has to do with the 4.37 40 he ran at the NFL Scouting Combine. If there is going to be a breakout wide receiver in this offense other than Bowe, it will be a burner and that’s exactly what Jenkins has the potential to be.
The key word there (and really with both guys here) is “potential”. Jenkins couldn’t get on the field as a rookie and hasn’t shown much in two preseason games (he lost a fumble on his only catch).
Now we’ll get to see if either player can reinvent themselves sporting a new jersey.