The 49ers had a problem. They spent a 2012 first-round pick on a player who suddenly was in serious danger of not making their 53-man roster after just one season.
The Chiefs also faced that unfortunately similar situation.
The solution? Swap problems.
The Chiefs announced they traded receiver Jon Baldwin to the 49ers for receiver A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin was a late first-round pick from 2011. Jenkins was a first-rounder last year. Neither has done anything to prove they were worth the pick.
In Jenkins' case, he'll go down as one of San Francisco's all-time busts, being shipped out before ever catching a pass for the 49ers. Jenkins was a frequent DNP as the 49ers steamrolled to the Super Bowl last season, barely whiffing the field in three games worth of miniscule action.
But the 49ers’ coaches and players talked up Jenkins’ potential this summer, and it appeared he’d get a legit chance to start with Michael Crabtree out indefinitely and Mario Manningham still banged up. Instead, he caught one pass in the first preseason game against the Broncos, which he fumbled. He didn't have a catch last week against the Chiefs, who were so impressed they traded for him.
Although Baldwin started seven games a year ago and averaged 16.3 yards per catch, new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s patience with Baldwin appeared be growing thin, yielding this gem of a comment from the coach:
“We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football,” Reid said, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. “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.”
Apparently, Baldwin didn’t. We’ll see if either guy can make a dent in their new home, and with cutdowns less than two weeks away, time's running out.
Maybe Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith saw a glimmer of hope in Jenkins when they worked together in San Francisco last year. Or perhaps this trade just shows it's a lot less embarrassing to cut someone else's botched draft pick.