Harbaugh: Fresh start for Jenkins, Baldwin
A.J. Jenkins fumbles the ball as Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho makes a tackle during a preseason game on Thursday, August 8. (AP)
Jon Baldwin, the No. 26 overall pick of the Chiefs in 2011, caught 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games over his first two seasons. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
A.J. Jenkins, who did not catch a pass as a rookie and has struggled in training camp, was losing ground on a daily basis in his a battle to win a roster spot. (AP)
SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins is no longer a member of the 49ers.
Jenkins, the disappointing first-round draft pick of 2012, has been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for receiver Jon Baldwin, the Chiefs' own under-achieving top draft pick, both teams announced Monday morning.
"We would like to thank A.J. for his efforts as a member of the 49ers and wish him all the best with the Kansas City Chiefs," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement.
"We are pleased to add Jonathan to our team and look forward to incorporating him into our offense. Both players have been presented a great opportunity for a new beginning with their respective teams."
Jenkins, who did not catch a pass as a rookie and has struggled in training camp, was losing ground on a daily basis in his a battle to win a roster spot in a crowded 49ers competition.
On Sunday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if draft position and salary-cap implications would factor into the 49ers' decision whether to keep Jenkins on the 53-man roster.
"Things factor in, but longstanding football hasn't changed since the inception: Best players make the team," Harbaugh said.
It was becoming increasingly clear with each practice and exhibition game that Jenkins was not one of the 49ers' better players.
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Jenkins was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He was active for five regular-season games but saw action in just three games. He was in uniform for all three postseason games but did not catch a pass.
The 49ers figure to open the season with six wide receivers. Anquan Boldin and Kyle Williams appear to be locks to make the 53-man roster. Rookie Quinton Patton, a fourth-round draft pick who was cleared last week to begin catching passes after dealing with an injured finger in through the first three weeks of practices, is expected to have a spot on the 53-man roster, too.
And Harbaugh suggested Marlon Moore has a strong lead on one of the other spots. That means Baldwin could be in a battle with Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Chad Hall, Ricardo Lockette, Kassim Osgood and Chuck Jacobs for, potentially, two roster spots.
Baldwin, the No. 26 overall pick of the Chiefs in 2011, caught just 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games over his first two seasons.
The 49ers dump Jenkins after just one season -- a rare development for a first-round draft pick. The team gets rid of his guaranteed salaries the next two seasons of $705,797 this season and $1.021 million next season.
Early in training camp of Jenkins rookie season, Harbaugh strongly defended Jenkins when negative reports began to surface about his practices.
"For those -- the scribes, pundits, so-called experts -- who have gone so far as to say that he's going to be a bust, should just stop," Harbaugh said. "I recommend that because they're making themselves look more clueless than they already did.
"I'll go on record: A.J. is going to be an outstanding football player. So far in camp and what he's done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but he'll be an outstanding football player in the National Football League."
Baldwin's salary of $1.061 million for this season is fully guaranteed. However, Baldwin's scheduled 2014 salary of $1.274 will be paid only if he's on the team.