SANTA CLARA — Only 16 months after being drafted in the first round, A.J. Jenkins' disappointing tenure with the 49ers ended Monday, when they traded him for the Kansas City Chiefs' own underperforming wideout, Jon Baldwin.

"Both players have been presented a great opportunity for a new beginning with their respective teams," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement.

Jenkins, the 30th overall pick in 2012, had only one reception this preseason, which was one more catch than he had all of his rookie season.

Baldwin was a 2011 first-round draft pick (26th overall) who produced 41 receptions for 579 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games (10 starts).

San Francisco 49ers’ Chad Hall (14) runs the ball after a complete pass as A.J. Jenkins (17) faces David Bruton (30)  in the first half of a
San Francisco 49ers' Chad Hall (14) runs the ball after a complete pass as A.J. Jenkins (17) faces David Bruton (30) in the first half of a preseason game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) ( RAY CHAVEZ )

"We felt like this trade was beneficial for all parties involved," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "A.J. is a talented individual with a skillset that we feel can add value to our football team. Jon Baldwin is a hardworking player and a professional. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward."

Jenkins will reunite in Kansas City with quarterback Alex Smith, whom the 49ers traded to the Chiefs in March for a 2013 second-round draft pick and a 2014 second- or third-round conditional choice.

"We would like to thank A.J. for his efforts as a member of the 49ers and wish him all the best with the Kansas City Chiefs," Baalke said in a statement. "We are pleased to add Jonathan to our team and look forward to incorporating him into our offense."

The 49ers have hunted hard for wideout depth ever since losing the 2011 season's NFC Championship game. They brought in veterans Randy Moss and Mario Manningham last year before drafting Jenkins out of Illinois. This year, the 49ers' wideout search became more desperate once Michael Crabtree sustained a torn Achilles on May 21. Crabtree and Manningham (knee) are slated to start the regular season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, meaning they'll both be out until at least Week 7.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said Sunday that the 49ers' top three wideouts currently are Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore. Still vying for backup spots are Quinton Patton, Chad Hall, Austin Collie, Ricardo Lockette, Kassim Osgood, Lavelle Hawkins and Chuck Jacobs.

Jenkins dropped the only pass that came his way as a rookie in the regular-season finale. He showed encouraging signs during this offeason's nine-week program. But he regressed during training camp, failing to consistently produce in practices and games. He made only one catch through two exhibitions, and he fumbled that one way in the Aug. 8 opener against the Denver Broncos.

Jenkins' is the 49ers' biggest draft bust since Rashaun Woods, the 30th overall pick in 2004 who was traded to the Chargers after two seasons.

Harbaugh made an unsolicited defense of Jenkins at the start of last year's training camp: "A.J Jenkins was an outstanding football player when he got here. His progress has been very, very good, and exceeded expectations. For those -- the scribes, pundits, so-called experts -- who have gone so far as to say that he's going to be a bust, should just stop. I recommend that because they're making themselves look more clueless than they already did.

"I'll go on record: A.J. is going to be an outstanding football player," Harbaugh continued. "So far in camp and what he's done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but he'll be an outstanding football player in the National Football League."

Baldwin has found himself under similar fire with the Chiefs. He had no receptions and dropped one of the three passes that came his way during Friday night's exhibition loss to the 49ers.

"We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football," Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters Saturday. "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."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.