Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Jon Baldwin the gift that keeps on giving
By Adam Teicher
As if it wasn't bad enough for the Kansas City Chiefs that a former first-round draft pick, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, was a bust, they are still paying for their error. Baldwin, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers, will count almost $1 million against the Chiefs' salary cap this season because of bonuses the Chiefs gave to Baldwin when he played in Kansas City.
The Chiefs' new administration of coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey tried to distance themselves from the mistake last summer when they sent Baldwin to San Francisco in return for another former first-round draft pick, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. He, too, was considered a bust by his former team. Jenkins, in limited playing time for the Chiefs, caught eight passes for 130 yards in 2013. But he also delivered a big 27-yard catch on third down in the fourth quarter of the playoff game against Indianapolis, allowing the Chiefs to continue what was their final scoring drive.
Jenkins probably won't become a starter or big producer for the Chiefs, but they should feel better about those chances or Jenkins' ability to deliver the occasional big play than they would have with Baldwin. And then there's this: Jenkins is costing the Chiefs about the same as Baldwin is this year, $1.02 million. His salary is guaranteed, so the Chiefs will likely keep Jenkins at least one more season.
Baldwin, in two seasons with the Chiefs, caught 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns. He played in seven games for the 49ers in 2013, catching three passes for 28 yards and no touchdowns.
Baldwin isn't Kansas City's leader this year in dead money, so called because the team is accounting for players no longer on the roster. The Chiefs saved more than $3 million against their cap last week when they released cornerback Dunta Robinson. But Robinson still counts $2 million against their cap.
Robinson and Baldwin make up most of the Chiefs' total of $3.5 million in dead money. They also have cap obligations ranging from $228,000 for former wide receiver Devon Wylie and $107,000 to former cornerback Jalil Brown, to $1,334 for wide receiver Frankie Hammond, who was released last year and has since re-signed.