Harbaugh: “I’ve known about Jonathan Baldwin since he was a junior in high school.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the 49ers’ media tent Monday morning. Here’s what he said.

HARBAUGH: As you know, we’ve traded A.J. Jenkins to Kansas City for Jonathan Baldwin. Feel like it’s a fresh start for both young men. Hopefully, it will be a positive for both of them and for the two teams.

Q: Did you know that was a possibility going into Friday’s game? Were you able to look at Baldwin in a we-might-be-trading-for-this-guy sense?

HARBAUGH: No, not on Friday.

Q: Did Trent Baalke start talking with John Dorsey about the trade possibility Friday?

HARBAUGH: I don’t think there is any importance to timeline, when people were talking, when the idea came, whose idea it was, etc. Where we stand right now is both players are on planes, A.J. headed to Kansas City and Jonathan Baldwin headed here to San Francisco where they will both take physical. If both pass, then Jonathan will be a 49er and A.J. will be a Chief. Anticipate that that will happen. Both appear to be in excellent shape.

Q: A year ago, you gave a really strong statement about A.J. What happened? Why didn’t things work out?

HARBAUGH: The why, that kind of thing…I just speak from personal experience. I was rejected by a team, sent to another team and with the next team my signature years came. So, it can be a real positive. That’s what everybody hopes for in this situation. A.J. is a very talented player. He has never been an issue or a problem as a teammate. He competes. He works very hard. There is no reason that both these guys can’t end up having a great career.

Another example, I won’t use myself but I’ll use the great Cris Carter, receiver in Philadelphia. Buddy Ryan sent him to Minnesota and then a Hall of Fame career ensued. Those are opportunity both these young men have. They definitely have that ability and license to get that done.

Q: Is two weeks enough time to fully evaluate Baldwin and see if he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster?

HARBAUGH: We’ll do the best we possibly can. We’ll see. To really start talking what-ifs, let’s have the two pass the physical and be a 49er or be a Chief and then we can start talking about some of those things.

Q: Baldwin has all of the measurable – great size, great speed, he can jump. Is he pretty intriguing to you?


Q: Have you seen much of him?

HARBAUGH: I’ve known about Jonathan Baldwin since he was a junior in high school, Aliquippa High School.

Q: How did you know about him?

HARBAUGH: He was the No.1 receiver as junior in the country in high school football. And then my brother-in-law, Tom Crean, who was at Marquette at the time, heavily recruited Jonathan to Marquette. That was the only non-football school Jonathan was considering. At the end, he decided to go to Pitt, but he was Tom’s No.1 basketball recruit that year.

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  1. Looks like Harbaugh thinks of him as more than a better cap situation. His size and athleticism are very intriguing to be sure. Maybe Boldin can set a good example of what he can do if he puts his mind to it.

    1. Take what Harbaugh says with a grain of salt. He was praising Jenkins last year and ripping people who called AJ a bust. I’d like to see Baldwin succeed, but he’s facing some tough odds.

      1. Anything’s possible Nick, but Harbaugh seems intrigued by what Baldwin brings to the table. If they keep 6 WRs, I could see him making it over guys like Hall, Osgoode and Hawkins easily.

      2. I believe that Harbaugh heard a lot about Baldwin when he was a top H.S. receiver in the nation and still a junior. He was also an excellent basketball player, and Harbaugh always likes multiple sports athletes. He is definitely excited for the chance to coach Baldwin.

    2. Its amazing what going from a losing culture to a winning one will do for a player. He’ll work harder here, that’s the climate. Plus we’re a running team. He will blow the corners off the line.

  2. Trade a 30th overall pick receiver bust for 26th overall pick receiver less of a bust that is 4 inches taller, 25 lbs heavier and almost as fast. Both have the case of the drops except one actually recorded statistics. We’ll see how it all plays out but I think the 49ers got a better deal. A fresh sceen with strong veteran presence and a chance for a champioinship hopefully will cause Baldwin to turn things around and be exactly what the 49ers need, a big physical receiver to match up against the Seahawks big physical DBs.

    1. Dude, So what you’re saying is….. they’re trading a turd for a turd with hopes that the larger turd has more surface area to potentially polish.

      1. Its worth adding that the big turd has a smaller paycheck (over the long run) than the little turd. And they still both get those checks even when circling down the toilet.

    2. Exactly, and if he can’t get off the line against SEA at least he has the size to punch Sherman and Browner in the mouth while run blicking…

  3. Everyone makes mistakes …
    and, it appears Trent Baalke (today) has corrected his
    biggest draft mistake to date ..

    The only thing that puzzles me .. is ..
    what was Andy Reid smoking .. when he signed off on this trade ?

  4. Grant, you and your Daddy-O should take a big bow. The two of you, from the get-go, correctly questioned the A.J. Jenkins pick, accurately reported the lack of practice success, and correctly evaluated that Jenkins, though improving, was a bust and if based only on merit wouldn’t warrant being on the squad. The 49er brass, with this trade, has thankfully faced up to the screw-up and moved on. We’ll never get that no. 1 pick back, but I’m glad that additional good money won’t be continue to be thrown after bad. You have done what an “insider” should do for us readers: use solid reporting from your vantage point as a witness to provide insight and analysis. Well done Sir!

    1. Yeah,

      You have to ask yourself, where are all of those folks on this board who have hammered Grant for reporting reality…Oh ,I know, they are at the market those gettin fixins for that great American dish Crow Pie!!!!

  5. Grant ..

    Is it too early to ask what kind of the cap takes (either way)
    or …
    do we have to wait ’till after the physical ?

  6. TB and Jed York, I applaud you for taking action and cutting strings with employes that do not produce! Go Niners

  7. I am hoping for the best but I’m not holding my breath. If anything positive is going to come from this it is that Hall has a better chance of making it onto the final roster.

  8. Whoa! Did Harbaugh just put J.Baldwin’ name in the same sentence with Cris Carter?

    Yes, I know Harbaugh was only illustrating a story about players having better careers after a change of scenery. But Cris Carter?
    Was Harbaugh just merely using CC as a parallel, or is Harbaugh giving us an inside glimpse on how he overrates receivers?

    In any case, if JB can give us half of CC’ production, we’ll be in the SB picture for the next 10 years.

    1. Thanks for the link, George. Pretty impressive. I don’t know what the talk was about him having bad hands; I haven’t followed him in KC…and don’t know how many he dropped in college, but the guy can definitely go up for the ball, and bring it down, regardless of coverage. In fact, of 10 plays, I counted him jumping for 6 of them. He caught some in stride, too, but the guy certainly shows the ability and willingness to go up and fight for the ball. Looks very promising. If all the cap business is in the Niners’ favor, so much the better, but I think this guy, in spite of the short window of opportunity, might be bringing something of value to the party…here’s hoping!

  9. Trading one bust for another bust makes one – busty. My understanding is Baldwins contract is guaranteed this year. See what happens. Seems like both sides are happy with the trade. This is a mighty big bust for sure.

  10. Don’t over-analyze this — neither player is expected to make a significant impact during 2013. It’s all about providing each a fresh-start and one more NFL chance. All things being equal … Baldwin has real game stats and one more year of NFL experience, so the 49ers have the edge IMO.

    As far as salary cap, perhaps someone with a better understanding of this can comment. Here are the numbers:


    Baldwin is an UFA in 2015 with a 2013 cap hit = $2,059,528 — 2013 Dead Money = $3,057,546

    Jenkins is an UFA in 2016 with a 2013 Cap Hit = $1,578,985 — 2013 Dead Money = $4,346,955

    Dead Money = The money left on the cap from the cap hit teams take by cutting player.

    From Yahoo Fantasy — “If a player is traded before the end of his contract, the entire unamortized signing bonus money (the remaining prorated bonus money) accelerates immediately and counts against the current salary cap. The signing bonus remaining on the player’s contract accelerates into his old team’s salary cap. The new team takes no cap hit whatsoever.”

    1. This is about the guaranteed base. Baldwin has no guaranteed after 2013. Jenkins does but offers a bigger savings this year which is what the Chiefs desperately need. The 49ers need the greater savings in 2014 and beyond because they have some contracts for some of the star players that will be up for renegotiation’s at those later dates.

      For the 49ers, this move is really about the future and those players than the likely Baldwin bust. I think the Niners will cut Baldwin early and take the one year hit because it looks as though they have some decent recievers starting to develope who will out perform him. KC could really use Jenkins if they can figure out how to get his head to perform to the level of his hands and feet. But that is a big if.

      1. That makes complete sense, thanks for the insight Bruce. Bottomline – 49ers officially gave-up on the AJ investment and cut their losses as much as they could moving into 2014. So if Baldwin offers anything incremental, that would be frosting on the cake but is not expected.

        I heard some interesting comments today on NFL radio regarding one of Belichick’s personnel strategies … he is one of the best at cutting his losses early, getting the busted rookies or veterans out of the mix sooner rather than later. He believes that weaker players bring down the greater group with their weaker attitudes and performance. Makes sense to me. So I’m glad to see Balke take care of this now.

  11. Harbaugh:
    “Things factor in, but it’s long-standing…Football hasn’t changed since its inception. Best players make the team.” Translation: Bye, AJ.

    1. Yes, I like Harbaugh’s consistency. He applied it in making the QB decision last year, halfway through the season, and does it again.

      There was no way he could have kept AJ in the team at the expense of other WR who merited a roster spot.

  12. I’m going to miss AJ. We had a perfect punching ball and now he’s gone. Who are we going to blame a losing season on now???

    1. Let’s see, who hasn’t produced enough to merit a roster space? Looney?

      In any case, I think the players get the message, and Harbaugh made it clear: play, compete or else…

  13. baalke follows the bill walsh mantra of cutting your losses earlier rather than later…will he soon be making a similar decision on lamichael james…they are trying to justify his selection by making him the punt return and kickoff man….but truth is perrish cox looks better, much more quicker and decisive in both roles..if niners truly embrace competition cox will be returning kicks ahead of james, unless something changes soon

    james doesnt seem to be as quick as he lloked at oregon…he will lose reps to hunter who will be gores primary backup..maybe james can contribute in the spread option, but he is no darren sproles

  14. Coach Harbaw: Let’s look at the total picture…
    Rather than your stint in Indianapolis, your “signature years” were
    2004 to 2006 in San Diego. If we are gonna take into account
    the big picture… Pivotal events. Turning points. Watershed issues, huh?

    No Super Bowl appearance/victory can ever surpass the impact of those years.

      1. LOL. Does Jim Harbaugh have an Ex-Wife? That he knows about? In This Dimension? (I have trouble keeping up with Bizarro World.)

  15. multiple choice question:
    according to Brotha Tuna, an ex-wife is…
    (a) a joke
    (b) a badge of honor ….. or perhaps
    (c) a statistical handicap on the solvency of his current remarriage…

    Hint: If you are a general manager, ready to sign a veteran player…
    having two prospects with nearly equal on-field performance records,
    consider taking the one with the more stable home life.

    My name is Alex Smith and I approve this message.

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