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Grant Cohn: Getting Jon Baldwin in a trade for A.J. Jenkins is a real win for Trent Baalke

  • Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin warms up before the start of a preseason NFL football game between the St. Louis Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

The 49ers traded A.J. Jenkins to the Chiefs for Jonathan Baldwin Monday morning.

Hallelujah for the 49ers. Heaven help the Chiefs.

Why on earth would Kansas City trade anything for Jenkins? Why would they want him in the first place? Just this past Friday, they saw firsthand how bad he really is. Jenkins played 38 snaps and caught no passes against the Chiefs.

Jenkins probably wasn't going to make the 49ers' roster. Jim Harbaugh stresses that the 49ers are a meritocracy and the best players make the team. Jenkins was not one of the 49ers' 53-best players. Of the 90 players in training camp, he was one of the worst.

But enough about Jenkins. He's the Chiefs' problem, now.

From the 49ers' perspective, this is a brilliant trade. Give general manager Trent Baalke tremendous credit. This is the best move he's made in two years.

Baalke was in a slump. Here are some examples:

The Jenkins pick was one of the worst first-round picks in 49ers' history. Baalke's entire 2012 draft was bad. His 2013 draft was OK but he didn't draft a cornerback, forcing him to trade for Eric Wright.

Baalke's trade for Anquan Boldin was pretty good. The Ravens were virtually giving Boldin away because they couldn't afford his contract and he turns 33 years old in October. The 49ers gave the Ravens' a sixth-round pick and agreed to pay Boldin's entire $6 million salary for this season. We'll see if he can justify that expensive contract.

Baalke's trade for Colt McCoy was horrendous. Baalke gave up a draft pick for a backup quarterback with serious arm-strength limitations. McCoy makes Alex Smith look like Ron Jaworski, the Polish Rifle. Scott Tolzien has outperformed McCoy all training camp. McCoy might not make the 49ers' roster.


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