ESPN: Kansas City Chiefs Still High on A.J. Jenkins

Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (13) wears a helmet with the heads up football sticker before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Louis Riddick said on NFL Insiders Monday night he’s heard the Chiefs are “very excited” about A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins, who the Chiefs traded Jon Baldwin for in August, caught eight passes for 130 yards in limited action this season.

It would makes sense for the Chiefs to say they are “excited” about him because they really have no choice but to keep him for 2014. Jenkins is one of five players on the Chiefs roster for 2014 who would not save the Chiefs money if they cut them. According to Over the Cap and Spotrac, Jenkins has a salary cap number and dead money figure of $1,021,594, which means the Chiefs would save no money by cutting him.

Next year could be different for Jenkins. His cap number for 2015 is still low, $1,337,390, but he will not have any dead money attached to him. This means Jenkins will not cost anything against the cap in 2015 if they choose to cut him. It makes sense to give Jenkins another year to see if he can figure it out from a salary cap standpoint.

Kansas City may also need to keep him around if Dexter McCluster leaves via free agency. Jenkins was McCluster’s primary replacement in the second half of the season, and showed an ability to run some of the same plays McCluster runs out of the backfield. A full offseason to learn the playbook and prepare with Alex Smith could see Jenkins ready to take over for McCluster if he leaves. If not, Kansas City has a solid and affordable second option behind McCluster.

One question to ask yourself is whether or not Jenkins can be a guy who returns kicks and catches 50 passes for 500 yards by running a bunch of underneath routes. If the answer is yes, then you’ve agreed to McCluster’s production from this past season. It isn’t unreasonable to think Jenkins could succeed in the McCluster role. He has good size at 6-feet, 200-pounds to go along with his 4.39 speed, has experience returning kickoffs in college, and showed potential as a possession receiver with 90 catches in his senior season. The raw skills are there if Kansas City can find a way to unlock them.

There is a reason why Jenkins was taken in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2012, there is talent there. Whether or not the Chiefs are the team to unlock it is the question. Andy Reid and John Dorsey apparently feel like they can.


Topics: A.J. Jenkins, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • KCMikeG

    If we can get him to play anywhere near a 1st round choice then the pain of Baldwin can fade away. I don’t think they would have traded for Jenkins and picked up Williams if Alex Smith doesn’t think they will make life better for him in KC. Dressler is a nice add too. All four speedsters cutting up the field and burning teams deep sure would open things up for Bowe and Hemingway and the TE’s. In reality one of them probably won’t make the cut especially if we draft a WR.

    Not sure why many keep looking at Jenkins and McCluster as an one or the other scenario. IMO No way Dexter goes away. Reid loves Dex and Dex loves KC, he was next on Reid’s 2010 draft list before we took him and oh by the way he led the NFL in punt returns and TD’s last year. In addition to his 500+ yards in receiving. Over 4,000 total all around yards in four seasons and he is peaking. Start thinking Jenkins & McCluster = Jackson & Maclin under Reid in Philly. I believe we will see more of both out of the backfield and even some reverses.

    I know I’m a Homer but I just don’t see how our offense isn’t going to be incredibly quick and dangerous next year. With the way they were churning as the year came to an end and another offseason to upgrade a piece or two combined with more time to learn the system and develop synergy with each other. I’ve officially move on from wanting to draft WR with one of our first 2 picks. I hope Dorsey focuses on defense.

    • Calchiefsfan

      Keep McCluster definitely! Let’s see if Jenkins can develop into a #2 WR. He’s got the speed. And yes, let’s focus on defense, both players and coaching. The defense in that playoff game was embarrassing. It’s going to take me a long time to get over that one.

      • KCMikeG

        Do you think Emmitt’s days of coaching have passed him by? I thought bringing in Al Harris was a good call due to his experience and the way he played the game but I honestly don’t know how good of a coach either one is. Being a great player doesn’t make you a great coach. I would like to see more in depth analysis on our coaching staff. Many are calling for Sutton to be replaced already yet do any of us truly know where the problem is. Some of the defensive coaches weren’t Sutton’s guys so there would be an adjustment period to be accounted for too.

        • Calchiefsfan

          You know, I just don’t know who’s at fault Mike. I do know that after watching the debacle of Crennel and the Chiefs in 2012 that we all learned what a difference good coaching can make. As I see it the Chiefs have plenty of talent so it has to be coaching. Since Sutton is the DC I put it on him. It’s clear our secondary under performed. It’s up to Sutton to make the necessary adjustments. He didn’t do a very good job, both in the second half of games and the second half of the season. Something has to change if the Chiefs are going to take the next step. I’m hoping Dorsey and Reid can figure it out.

        • berttheclock

          Have you read the comments by Richard Sherman where he said they had figured out many of Peyton’s tendencies and even some of his audible hand changes, so, they were able to jump his routes and/or be able to hit his receivers very hard shortly after the catch. Did you know the Bronco wide outs only averaged 3.6 yards after the 34 catches? I attribute that to their excellent defensive co-ord, Mr Quinn, who was able to really study the films (Unfortunately, two of those films were in our games). But, Sherman went on to say had Manning double pumped them or changed his routines, they would have been exposed. I still believe there is life in Manning and after reading Sherman’s comments look for some change to his routines, next season.

          • KCMikeG

            It wasn’t like what the donkeys were doing was brain surgery. Most teams just didn’t have the scheme and/or the players. Seattle gambled that they couldn’t get beat deep and got enough pressure rushing four leaving seven to flood the short zones with coverage and hit the receivers when they tried to work there.

        • Troy Utt

          That’s a good point Mike. I can’t think of anyone else I would prefer to have teach / reinforce the position fundumentals than Emmitt & Al. That said they probably aren’t the best to be talking any kind of scheme! We are all in agreement that Sutton is not the right person for the job, & I’m not sure how much if any the others do but it would appear as tho the game has passed them by…

          • KCMikeG

            Is it all Sutton? Don’t the players, injuries and position coaches contribute to the final performance? I’m concern about Sutton not adjusting but saw plenty failures on the field too. I would hate to throw the baby out with the bath water and start all over again. He had what was one of the top defenses in the league churning along for seven games. I wish someone could “get inside” of what happened and bring the change we need whatever it is. Guess that is Reid’s responsibility isn’t it?

    • Lyle Graversen

      Sorry Mike, McCluster is gone. Between their cap situation and the guys that they have already signed that have return experience the writing is on the wall. While I think Dex is a valuable punt returner, I think Dave Toub has more to do with it. If he thinks he can get comparable results from someone cheaper, I’ll trust his judgement. Remember, McCluster’s return numbers were very “meh” before Toub arrived.

      • KCMikeG

        Meh? Wrong on McCluster’s number before Toub. Dexter had almost as many return yards in 2011 and more in 2010 on fewer returns while only playing 11 games. He nearly had as many returns this year (59) than those two years combined (39 & 31). Who exactly is going to fill that role for us? You can’t ignore how Reid has very vocal about his liking McCluster. Many were saying the same thing about him last offseason. Is there room on the roster for him in 2013? Thank goodness there was in Andy Reid’s eyes as he led the NFL in punt returns.

  • Calchiefsfan

    It will be interesting to see how training camp and the pre season games go this year. If Jenkins comes on early then I see him replacing Avery before he replaces McCluster. He started to look half way decent by the end of the year including a clutch play for a first down in the playoffs.

    • KCMikeG


  • Tristian Shelley

    I hope Jenkins turns out to be at least average but he has to learn how to beat press coverage as does Williams. We have speed in mccluster and those 2 plus avery but if you cant get off the line against some pretty weak corners in the AFC I might add then you just arent worth it. Thats why signing a Emanuel Sanders or Maclin type makes sense. Bowe can beat press but who else really can on the roster consistently? Ive watched williams in SF the last 3 years and he has some real talent quickness and speed but injuries have hurt him 2 straight years now. I trust Reid but just in case hed better have an eye on free agency moreso and the draft

    • berttheclock

      I still believe one of the important things involved in the trade was a chance for Jenkins to recover his confidence. I watched for him in his early games with the Chiefs, where, Smith was not throwing to him, but, Jenkins was getting more and more involved in the plays. Smith had worked with him in the Bay and I still think it was Smith who saw something in him that others missed. In the Bay, he had been thrown to the wolves early on and had lost his confidence. He really began to show his Illinois play late in the season for us and I can understand why the Chiefs would want to keep him (plus, the cap problem of dumping him). However, one question for you. Trent Baalke really rebuilt the Niners and made great picks even before taking over as GM. But, there is one area where he had problems. That problem was in finding enough wide outs to match the excellent defensive and offensive line players he had selected. BTW, his taking Jonathan Baldwin from the Chiefs was really a poor move, but, thankfully, really improved the Chiefs. Not only addition by subtraction, but, Jenkins may well turn out to be a real plus. I have read reports that said Baldwin had speed (4.5 at the combines), but, needed long strides to get into top speed and he did not like to fend off aggressive d-backs. So, he could be knocked off early. Considering the huge need for wide outs during the early and middle of the season of the Niners, if Baldwin could not crack the lineup, then, he really is finished in the NFL.

    • berttheclock

      I would love to see the smallish, but, very quick and fast, Brandon Cooks of Oregon State taken by the Chiefs. What I really like about him is he has the quickness to get off the line of scrimmage and, then, the speed to separate down field, plus, he has excellent hands. BTW, I first started following Cooks after reading an excellent article of him at the Niners’ Blog at sfgate. Their writer was begging Baalke to take him.

    • JimHarbaughsguys

      As a Niner fan, I can tell you that Williams does get open. Kap just never threw the guy the ball. Alex knows how to play the QB position as Wilson described it; “Throw to the open guy at the proper time.” Williams will get open. Alex will see him, and Williams will produce a number of big plays for KC.

      The Niners dumped Williams when they did, to find a scape-goat for Kap after the embarrassing 10-9 loss at home to Carolina. Kap didn’t, and still hasn’t learned to play the position. He locks onto 1 guy, and just ignores everybody else. This is evident in the Super Bowl when Davis and Walker were open for the win, and Kap didn’t bother looking that way. It was evident in the Title game vs Seattle when every other WR except Crabtree was open. Including Hunter who was underneath. Had Kap thrown him the ball, he might have done what Murray did in the Pro Bowl and ran it in. Only Sherman and Smith had a shot at Hunter had he gotten the ball. The fact Kap doesn’t see the open guys doesn’t mean the guys don’t get open. They do. Williams will.

  • Calchiefsfan

    Hey Ben, welcome aboard! I’ve enjoyed several of your posts over the last couple of days. Good work and welcome to the family.

    • Ben Nielsen

      Thanks! Happy to be here.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Donnie Avery, Ray Farmer would like to see you. Bring your playbook.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I’m with you Stacy, Avery is the one that should be sweating. If AJ can fill that deep threat role just as well as Avery, but they can save over a million $ by cutting Avery, bye bye Donnie. I think are WR core next year will consist of Bowe, Jenkins, Hemmingway, Dressler, and either a draft pick or free agent (or both and Dressler doesn’t make it).

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I think I might throw numbers at the WR spot. Sign one. Draft one. Let the best compete. Keep 6. I have a feeling McCluster’s going to be gone. I’m not even sure why because Reid seems to love the guy.

        • berttheclock

          Well, you know Wylie is still on the taxi squad of the Niners, eh? Testing, testing, that was a joke, testing. Perhaps, the Common English Sparrows in Atlanta under the Belichick twins might swoop to pick him up.

      • berttheclock

        If they do pick up a wide out, I want one who can really stretch the field. While, I really believe in Hemingway, I have read too many comments saying he is more of a Bowe type. I want pure speed who can get open, fly and catch the dang ball.

  • Canad-Ian

    My favorite part of AJ Jenkins is that his name isn’t Jon Baldwin.

    • berttheclock

      Palko is going to love having Baldwin on his Pop Warner team outside Pittsburgh.

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