San Francisco 49ers trade WR AJ Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs for WR Jonathan Baldwin

This is a very interesting deal for the 49ers. The Chiefs dealing Baldwin isn’t unprecedented. He’s largely been a bust through the first two years of his career and the Head Coach/GM combo of Todd Haley and Scott Pioli that drafted him is gone. Andy Reid and John Dorsey aren’t admitting a mistake getting rid of him. They’re just trying to get the best 53 possible.

The 49ers, however, are admitting a mistake getting rid of Jenkins and in pretty unprecedented fashion. I can’t remember another time a team drafted a player in the first round and then admitted their mistake with him after just one season. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh haven’t made a lot of mistakes. This was one of them, a pretty bad one, drafting Jenkins ahead of where the rest of the league valued him, and they’re showing with this move they have no problem admitting a mistake. Like the Chiefs, they’re just trying to get the best 53 possible. Time will tell if it’s the correct move, but it’s definitely very interesting.

I do think the 49ers are getting the better end of the deal here, at least on paper. At least when Baldwin was drafted in the first round, it wasn’t a huge shock. The 49ers were one of the few teams in the league that rated Jenkins as high as a 1st rounder, but Baldwin had legitimate first round talent coming out of Pittsburgh in 2011. He’s struggled with the mental parts of the game and had run ins with coaches and teammate and remains a very stiff route runner, but he has the most upside of the two receivers in this deal.

He’s also had the better career to this point. Jenkins has played 47 career snaps and hasn’t caught a pass, dropping his only attempt and he hasn’t looked much better in practice or the pre-season. Baldwin has caught 41 passes for 579 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career, despite dealing with poor quarterback play. It’s not anything to be impressed about at all, and he’s been incredibly inefficient, catching those passes on 97 targets (42.2%) and 565 routes run (1.02 yards per route run), but at least he’s shown something.

I know Baldwin has a year more experience than Jenkins, but they’re actually pretty much the same age, being born about a month apart. For the Chiefs, Jenkins is a better fit for their West Coast offense, but they’re getting the inferior talent. It’s not a huge trade (except for that it’s really interesting), as neither of these guys are guaranteed a roster spot in their new home, but the 49ers came out of the trade with the better player.

Grade for 49ers: A

Grade for Chiefs: C




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