Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Aug 2013

49ers Deal Jenkins for Jon Baldwin

Here's something you don't often see in the NFL: a "challenge trade," where a player is getting straight-up dealt for another player at the same position solely to see who can improve with a change of scenery. The 49ers will try to get something out of Jonathan Baldwin, and the Chiefs get to figure out if there is any hope for A.J. Jenkins. Can anyone remember a similar deal in recent NFL history?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 19 Aug 2013

42 comments, Last at 25 Aug 2013, 6:23pm by RickyJohjima


by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:30pm

S. Moss for L. Coles simiallr tlchalleneg trade even though both good players.

R. Woods was trade for some other bust player but guy escapes mind rigjt now. May not have bebn for other WR but then again maybe was.

by theslothook :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 3:39pm

He was traded for CB sammy Davis, both washed out.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:36pm

Didn't the Patriots trade Bethel Johnson straight up for someone (on the Saints, I think). As I recall, both players washed out.

Edit: Though in that case the players weren't at the same position, come to think of it.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 8:07am

You're thinking of DT Jonathan Sullivan.

However, they did swap Jeff Demps for LeGarrette Blount during the draft, with a symbolic 7th rounder thrown in.

by JeppeB (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:35pm

I believe Jason Smith aka "Left Tackle Bust" was traded to the Jets last year straight up for Wayne Hunter aka "Right Tackle Disappointment".

Didn't really work out for any of them...

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:40pm

Uurrggh swapped for bleeeghh.

by RoninX (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 2:35pm

You can say that again

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:40pm

Uurrggh swapped for bleeeghh.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 11:01pm

You can say that again!

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 12:00am

Urrrghhh swapped for bleleeccxh

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 11:33am

Pretty much the most Raiderjoe thing ever: instead of copy-and-pasting the joke, he retypes with typos. Don't ever change, RJ.

by Dean :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:48pm

Andy Reid was known to do this on occasion. He traded Chris Gocong to Cleveland for Alex Hall. They traded Chris Clemons to Seattle for Darryl Tapp. I believe draft picks were also involved in both trades.

by The Powers That Be :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:56pm

And he tried to trade Ronnie Brown to the Lions for Jerome Harrison in 2011, until they discovered Harrison's brain tumor.

by nath :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 3:48pm

Wow, Clemons-for-Tapp is one of the rare challenge trades that can be considered a huge win for one side.

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:00pm

Don't forget, Seattle got Chris Clemons AND a fourth-round pick in the deal. I believe that fourth-rounder turned into Walter Thurmond, a backup corner who has played well in the rare instances he has managed to stay healthy.

by Dean :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:01pm

I'm kinda hazy on the details, but didn't the Eagles also draft a Wide Receiver, then trade him for Hank Baskett, who was a UDFA who'd signed elsewhere?

by Travis :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:05pm

The Eagles traded former third-round pick Billy McMullen to the Vikings for Baskett in 2006. Baskett had signed with the Vikings 18 days earlier.

by Arkaein :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:56pm

Packers traded Samkon Gado (RB) to Houston for Vernand Morency during the 2006 season.

Morency ran for about 500 yards over 2 years with GB, with 300 yards receiving, which was more than I remembered him contributing. He was also used on kick returns.

Gado had just over 400 total yards from scrimmage for Houston, and was either traded to Miami, or released and picked up by Miami, during the 2007 season.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:10pm

Yeah, the Packers marginally won that one. Gado was inhumanly awful, whereas Morency was just really, really bad.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 2:18pm

Does Jenkins have one more year on his contract than Baldwin? I suppose that could be a selling point for one of the teams in this deal, although I'm not sure which one.

Besides the straight-up swap of two players at the same position, you don't often see a team give up on a 1st round pick after only 1 year. I can't remember ever seeing that happen absent a serious mental health situation. Usually 1st rounders get extra chances to turn it around. This is the same team that gave Alex Smith like 7 years to become average.

by RoninX (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 2:38pm

#1 overalls get even more leash than most first rounders, also the Harbaugh admin didn't exactly bend over backwards to give Smith more chances.

by zenbitz :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 3:33pm

I believe the swap saves the Niners $2M in guaranteed money over the length of the contract(s).

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 4:46pm


by Travis :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:02pm

1980: Ken Stabler from the Raiders to the Oilers for Ken Pastorini.

1988: Shawn Knight from the Saints to the Broncos for Ted Gregory. A trade of first-round-bust defensive linemen that went as well as you'd expect.

1989: Earnest Byner from the Browns to the Redskins for Mike Oliphant. Byner outrushed Oliphant 5548-97 after the trade.

1992: Bobby Humphrey from the Broncos to the Dolphins for Sammie Smith (summed up here as like trading chicken pox for measles.) Despite being in their mid-20s, neither played in the NFL beyond that year.

2004: Keyshawn Johnson from the Bucs to the Cowboys for Joey Galloway.

2004: Quincy Morgan from the Browns to the Cowboys for Antonio Bryant.

by Sifter :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 5:26pm

Good old Travis, always comes up with the historical goods - thanks buddy.

by wr (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 8:42pm

One nitpick - Dan Pastorini, not Ken.

by Travis :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 9:20pm

Yikes. Five more straight-up challenge trades with no added players or picks not yet mentioned here:

1972: Donny Anderson from the Packers to the Cardinals for MacArthur Lane in a trade of aging one-time Pro Bowl running backs.

1972: Dwight Harrison from the Bills to the Broncos for Haven Moses. The Bills would eventually move Harrison to cornerback.

1978: Eddie Payton (brother of Walter) from the Lions to the Chiefs for John Brockington. Brockington was cut two weeks later.

1984: James Brooks from the Chargers to the Bengals for Pete Johnson. Brooks made four Pro Bowls with the Bengals; Johnson played three games with the Chargers before being traded to the Dolphins.

2010: Jerome Harrison from the Browns to the Eagles for Mike Bell.

by EricL :: Fri, 08/23/2013 - 4:00pm

I went to college with Oliphant. Only player ever drafted from Puget Sound (who, I may add, have a legitimate claim to being the worst college football team in the nation last year - any level), and he went on to a pretty decent career in Canada.

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:08pm

Somebody -- Maiocco? -- was saying that Jenkins would be better at Flanker than Split End because, though he's quick, he has trouble beating press coverage, and at Flanker he'd have more room to use his speed.

Baldwin otherwise seems to fit with the mammoth receivers the 49ers like. I'm pulling for Chad Hall, at 5'7", to make it just to have a laugh at the team receivers photo.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:28pm

Do they like big receivers? All Baalke seems to have done is draft smurfs. I don't think there's one over 6'1". Crabtree and Boldin are quite stocky but when was the last time we picked or signed a receiver who was above 6'2"?

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 4:28pm

Do they like big receivers? All Baalke seems to have done is draft smurfs. I don't think there's one over 6'1". Crabtree and Boldin are quite stocky but when was the last time we picked or signed a receiver who was above 6'2"?

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 5:06pm

Ricardo Lockette, Kassim Osgood, now Baldwin with Boldin...isn't that a lot of receivers weighing in at 220+?

Kyle Williams is definitely a smaller guy, but otherwise they sure seem to be favoring the 6'+ beefy guys.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 5:23pm

I don't really see 6'0" as big in the modern NFL. Osgood is a special teamer to me, I think that's how he makes the roster and we don't know yet if Lockette makes the 53.

I think the four guys who will see regular time this year (before the possible return of Crabtree and Manningham) are Boldin, Williams, Moore and Patton. None are above 6'1" and neither are Crabby or MM.

I don't think Baalke has a problem with tall receivers but I do think he has been looking for speed and if you want to get a tall, fast receiver that can actually play then it's going to cost you a pretty high draft pick, which we haven't had in the past two years.

by Illuminatus (not verified) :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 9:14pm

If we're counting inside and outside backers as the same, this isn't even the first such trade this offseason. Buffalo dealt ILB Kelvin Sheppard for OLB Jerry Hughes of the Colts.

by CBPodge :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 11:18am

I'd be interested to see if there are any other instances of first round picks being traded after such a short period of time, by the same administration that drafted them.

Apart from things like the Rivers for Manning trade in 2004, obviously.

by Travis :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 2:20pm

Since 1980, trades of first rounders drafted that year or before:

9/21/1999: John Avery (#29 overall in 1998) from the Dolphins to the Broncos for Marcus Nash (#30 overall in 1998). Bust RB for bust WR.

9/3/1991: Randal Hill (#23 overall that year) from the Dolphins to the Cardinals for a 1992 1st rounder. Hill had held out in training camp, and Don Shula didn't think he was ready to play.

4/22/1990: Andre Rison (#22 overall in 1989) from the Colts to the Falcons as part of the package for the pick that became Jeff George.

8/29/1988: Ted Gregory (#26 overall in 1988) from the Broncos to the Saints for Shawn Knight (#11 overall in 1987). A trade of bust defensive linemen.

8/1/1988: John Clay (#15 overall in 1987) and picks from the Raiders to the Chargers for Jim Lachey. A steal for the Raiders, who subsquently traded Lachey to the Redskins for Jay Schroeder. By the end of 1989, Clay was out of football and Chargers GM Steve Ortmayer had been fired.

(Note that this ignores trades of the rights to unsigned players [Manning for Rivers, Elway for Hinton, Kelly Stouffer, Mossy Cade] and of players drafted under previous regimes [Billy Milner, Huey Richardson].)

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 5:13pm

While not quite a first round pick, Brett Favre was drafted #33 overall and was traded by the Falcons after one year to the Packers for a first round pick. Jerry Glanville still thinks it was the right thing to do, even though he only had Billy Joe Tolliver backing up the fragile Chris Miller. Two years later, Glanville was fired.

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 8:51am

One more similar trade (though not quite to your parameters):
1999 - OT John Michels (Packers 1996 #27 overall) traded for DE Jon Harris (Eagles 1997 #25 overall). Neither played for the team they were traded to and were out of football before the end of the year.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 6:13pm

I think there has to be some involvement of Alex Smith here, who has practiced for a full year with Jenkins. Possibly he nudged the GM and said "Get Jenkins, I can make him work here."?

by grady graddy (not verified) :: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 8:45pm

I believe Alex Barron for Bobby Carpenter qualifies.

by grady graddy (not verified) :: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 11:01pm

Also Mike Goodson for Bruce Campbell. (Assuming we are still ignoring the 'same position' aspect of the original post.)

by RickyJohjima (not verified) :: Sun, 08/25/2013 - 6:23pm

Well, I guess that means a good Losers League team name this year will be "Jenkins to Baldwin to Janitor"