KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs traded wide receiver Jon Baldwin to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday for wide receiver A.J. Jenkins in a swap of disappointing first-round picks.
Baldwin was the 26th overall choice of the Chiefs in 2011, but he's had a tumultuous career right from the start. Baldwin broke his thumb his rookie season when he got into a fight with a teammate, and then struggled to adapt to three head coaches in his first three seasons.
He's also had trouble dropping passes throughout training camp under new Chiefs coach Andy Reid, including one when he was wide open in last Friday night's preseason loss to San Francisco.
That drop alone apparently was not enough to dissuade the 49ers from making the deal.
“We are pleased to add Jonathan to our team and look forward to incorporating him into our offense,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “Both players have been presented a great opportunity for a new beginning with their respective teams.”
Jenkins was the 30th overall pick of the 49ers last year, but may have had a more perplexing rookie season than Baldwin. He appeared in three games but did not make a catch, even though he was healthy throughout his team's NFC championship season.
It's the second significant deal between the Chiefs and 49ers this year. Kansas City acquired quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco for a pair of draft picks during the offseason.
“We felt like this trade was beneficial for all parties involved,” said Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, who was hired to replace the fired Scott Pioli in January.
Dorsey and Reid clearly weren't enamored of Baldwin after breaking down video shortly upon their arrival. One of their major acquisitions in free agency was Donnie Avery, a wide receiver who was expected to compete with Baldwin for the job opposite Dwayne Bowe.
Baldwin didn't do much to change the Chiefs' opinion of him this offseason, either.