KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are hoping a change of scenery will give two disappointing first-round picks an opportunity to realize their potential.
The Chiefs traded wide receiver Jon Baldwin to the 49ers on Monday for fellow wideout A.J. Jenkins. It’s the second significant trade between the teams this year after the Chiefs sent two draft picks to San Francisco in the offseason to acquire quarterback Alex Smith.
“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.”
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.
“There’s no reason that both of these guys can’t end up having a great career,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Both of these young men have that opportunity, and they definitely have the ability and license to get it done.”
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.
The 49ers are hopeful that Baldwin can flourish without having to deal with the pressure that came with being a primary target in Kansas City. Even though Michael Crabtree is out with a torn Achilles tendon, San Francisco still has veteran Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Mario Manningham when healthy, and tight end Vernon Davis to carry most of the load in its passing game.