The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers both ran out of patience with their former first round draft choices. As a result, the Chiefs and 49ers decided to trade Jonathan Baldwin and A.J. Jenkins. Both parties feel the deal is beneficial to one another, and hope that with a new opportunity, the first round wide receivers can finally live up to their potential.
Although it is probably a little too early to officially dub both wide-outs as busts, both Jenkins and Baldwin are certainly heading down that path as their NFL careers reach the make-or-break point. Baldwin is entering his third season out of Pittsburgh, while Jenkins is going into his second season out of Illinois.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hinted that his patience with Baldwin was running thin earlier in the week. Throughout training camp, the talented receiver has been plagued by dropped passes and otherwise unproductive play. Asked by reporters if he thought his then starting receiver had lost his confidence, Reid said of Baldin; “I don’t know about any crisis and all that. I can tell you that when given the opportunity in this league, you’d better catch the football.”
At 6’4″ and 230 lbs, Baldwin has the size to be a major factor down the field. He has the speed to compliment his massive frame, which would make one think that he should be competing for a number one receiver job at this point in his career. That could not be further from the truth for a player who has completely disappeared in more games than he has made an impact thus far.
In two seasons, Baldwin managed just 41 catches for 579 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Chiefs.
Jenkins career with the 49ers was even less impressive. Taken with the 30th pick in the 2012 draft, Jenkins did not even record a catch during the regular season last year. In fact, he only appeared in three games for a San Francisco team that made the Super Bowl without him.
So far this preseason, he made just one catch in two games. To make matters worse, he fumbled away the football after hauling in his lone reception.
Perhaps a second chance with former 49ers quarterback, and current Chiefs starter Alex Smith will help Jenkins reach his potential.
Both men will have an opportunity to see significant playing time should they flip the switch and become the players expected of a first round selection.
The 49ers are thirsty for talent at receiver after losing Michael Crabtree for the season during training camp. The addition of Anquan Boldin helps, but San Francisco is incredibly thin behind him for an expected contender.
Much the same can be said of Kansas City, a popular choice to make the playoffs after suffering through a dismal 2-14 2012 season a year ago. Dwayne Bowe is elite, and he finally has a quality quarterback getting him the football. Behind him however is only Donnie Avery, a free agent pick up from Indianapolis. Plenty of room on the depth chart for Jenkins.
Both organizations expressed the duel benefits of their swap of first round busts.
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said of the trade in a statement that, “we felt like this trade was beneficial for all parties involved. A.J. is a talented individual with a skill set that we feel can add value to our football team. Jon Baldwin is a hard-working player and a professional. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
Trent Baalke, general manager of San Francisco had a similar tone in his statement. “We would like to thank A.J. for his efforts as a member of the 49ers and wish him all the best with the Kansas City Chiefs,” he said. “We are pleased to add Jonathan to our team and look forward to incorporating him into our offense. Both players have been presented a great opportunity for a new beginning with their respective teams.”
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express