Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.
Last August, the San Francisco 49ers connected with the Kansas City Chiefs to make a trade involving disappointing first round wide receivers. The 49ers acquired Jon Baldwin in exchange for A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin had done more in his limited time with the Chiefs, but neither team was overly happy with their respective situations.
Neither player really did a whole lot after the trade. Baldwin finished the season with three receptions for 28 yards, and was inactive for nine regular season games and all three playoff games. After the season ended, Baldwin restructured the final year of his contract. He was due to make $1,274,765 with a $130,000 workout bonus. It was restructured to $645,000 in base salary, with a chance to earn up to $755,000 in incentives. All incentives were deemed unlikely to be earned.
Why he might improve:
He's got a full season in the 49ers system, but that might be the only thing going for him. He's got serious size, but he's struggled with consistency throughout his career. I suppose the light bulb could just turn on all of a sudden, and one benefit is that the 49ers did work with him to re-do his deal rather than simply release him. Jim Harbaugh likes competition, and Baldwin will get a chance to compete in the Thunder Dome that is the wide receiver corps.
Why he might regress:
In case you're new around these parts, have you seen that wide receiver corps? The 49ers are looking ridiculously stacked right now, with the addition of Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington, and Brandon Lloyd. Even though Lloyd sat out last season, the fact that he is probably no better than the sixth receiver on this team is telling us something. Jon Baldwin will need a lights out offseason, training camp and preseason to have a chance to make this roster. I suppose regression in this case is mostly just, not making the roster.
Odds of making the roster:
His odds are pretty slim at this point. The restructured deal conceivably shows the team likes him enough to give him a chance to compete, but this wide receiver corps just seems too deep. If the 49ers keep six receivers and decide Kassim Osgood's special teams contributions aren't enough, it likely comes down to Baldwin and Lloyd, right? And if the 49ers keep 5 (or 5 + Osgood), who does Baldwin get in over? It's not Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin or Stevie Johnson. I don't see any way Bruce Ellington doesn't make the team. And Patton has one year under his belt. Just don't see that either. If Baldwin makes this roster, I would be mighty surprised.