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Monday, August 19, 2013
Baldwin for Jenkins: Why not?

By Bill Williamson


In the end, Monday's trade of receivers Jon Baldwin and A.J. Jenkins may simply go down as a swap of first-round busts.

But as of now, Monday’s trade between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is a worthwhile attempt to salvage something for each team. Earlier Monday, we looked at Baldwin’s tenuous future with the Chiefs. He was the first-round pick of the Chiefs (and a former regime) in 2011.

New coach Andy Reid showed hints of impatience with Baldwin this weekend after Baldwin had another poor preseason showing against the 49ers. I wrote that I thought Reid shouldn’t cut Baldwin because the Chiefs need receiver help and Reid has had success working with receivers in the past.

But I don’t have qualms with this trade for a few reasons. First, the Chiefs got something back for Baldwin. Secondly, the speedy Jenkins is a better scheme fit for Reid’s offense. He is a fast, outside threat, and that's an element the Chiefs were missing.

Now the question is if Jenkins, who was the 49ers' first-round pick last year, can find his stride in Kansas City. It is stunning that a team would give up on a first-round pick so early, but Jenkins didn’t have a catch last year and he has been unimpressive in camp and the preseason so far. It is alarming that Jenkins couldn’t make any strides under a strong offensive coach like Jim Harbaugh and in an offense with so many talented pieces.

But like Baldwin, Jenkins gets a fresh start. Again, Reid will try to put him in position to succeed right away because of the need there. If he doesn’t, the Chiefs will get nothing out of the Baldwin trade. But it is worth a try.