COMMENTARY | The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are at it once again, this time announcing a trade involving two former first-round wide receivers on Monday morning. Kansas City will send Jon Baldwin (26th overall pick in 2011) to San Francisco for A.J. Jenkins (30th overall pick in 2012).
Former 49ers No. 1 overall pick quarterback Alex Smith was acquired by the Chiefs earlier this offseason for two second-rounders.
Both wideouts have fallen short of the expectation attached to their lofty draft statuses, but each side is hopeful that a new atmosphere could spark a spike in production -- especially in the case of Jenkins, who failed to notch a single reception during his rookie season last year. Baldwin has caught a total of 41 passes for 579 yards and two scores in his two seasons in the NFL.
Though Baldwin has achieved much more on the field in comparison to Jenkins, he was also considered a better prospect coming out of college and perhaps the eventual replacement for Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City, so the ceiling was perceivably higher in his case.
Bowe and the Chiefs have since agreed to a long-term contract, symptomatic of his value to the organization and, in turn, Baldwin's ultimate expandability -- though both could have coexisted on the same field had things worked out differently.
Kansas City welcomed a new regime this offseason, highlighted by head coach Andy Reid (Philadelphia Eagles) and general manager John Dorsey (Green Bay Packers). The move was confirmed via a statement from Dorsey shortly after the reports of the trade became public.
"We felt like this trade was beneficial for all parties involved," he said. "A.J. is a talented individual with a skill set 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."
Dorsey and Reid obviously picked up on the inherent frustration everyone in and around the organization had brewing for Baldwin, which actually began with a fight at training camp during his rookie year with veteran running back Thomas Jones. Baldwin broke his thumb in the altercation and missed the first five games of the 2011 season.
When asked about Baldwin's performance during Friday's 15-13 preseason loss to the 49ers, Reid simply said, "You have to catch the football."
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"That's how it works, and he knows that and I know that," Reid said. "When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity."
Baldwin has repeatedly failed to capitalize on those opportunities in Kansas City, thus the genesis of the trade. But for the Chiefs to make a move for a player in a similar situation with a different team, there must be some notion that Jenkins can serve a more specific role and actually execute the tasks consistently -- eventually providing some verification of being a first-round pick.
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