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Insider

McCluster, Baldwin buzz (or lack thereof)

8/19/2013

UPDATE: And right on queue, the Chiefs have traded Jon Baldwin to the Niners for fellow borderline bust A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin will get a chance to find a role with the Niners offense, a group that is in need of someone to step up, while Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham work their way back from injuries. He'll have to prove himself this season, though, because his salary for '14 is not guaranteed.

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We took a look at the Kansas City Chiefs' WR corps last week, including Dwayne Bowe's upside in Andy Reid's system and how Donnie Avery likely will be their No. 2 option. We also touched a little bit on how Dexter McCluster and Jon Baldwin have failed to live up to the expectations they brought to the NFL. After I wrote that note, the Chiefs played their second preseason game, during which McCluster played no role and Baldwin failed to catch any of the three passes intended for him.

“We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football,” Reid said of Baldwin. “That’s how it works, and he knows that and I know that. When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity … He needs to keep playing, and (when) given the opportunity, he needs to take advantage of it.”

McCluster's versatility should keep him involved in the Chiefs offense once the season begins, though it's debatable whether he'll see enough regular touches to be a fantasy option. Baldwin, on the other hand, appears to be fighting for scraps -- and possibly even a roster spot -- at this point:

Bill Williamson

Is Jon Baldwin running out of time in K.C.?

"He is not taking the necessary steps forward in his career. The Chiefs hopes a regime change would help spur the 2011 first-round pick. Still, Baldwin is not showing much consistency. He had another big drop against San Francisco on Friday and he looked lost at times in the game. ... I talked to ESPN’s Matt Williamson about Baldwin. Williamson said he think Baldwin’s career is still salvageable. But he might benefit from a change of scenery. While there are teams that are thin at receiver and there could be a modest market for Baldwin, the truth is, the Chiefs are not overly deep at receiver. They are counting on Baldwin this year. If I were the Chiefs, I wouldn’t give up on him yet. It’s just his third year and his first with Reid. If Baldwin doesn’t improve this year, then Kansas City should consider all of its options. For now, it seems like the Chiefs aren’t ready to give up on him."