INDIANAPOLIS -- Wide receiver Jon Baldwin, who had three catches for the 49ers in 2013, has agreed to take a pay cut. According to a report by ESPN Boston, the wideout has reduced his salary from $1.4 million to $645,000. He can make up the difference in incentives he came no where close to achieving during his first year with the 49ers.
If he plays 80 percent of the team's offensive snaps, finishes with 65 catches and has more than 800 yards, he will earn back the $755,000 difference. Last year, however, Baldwin had only 28 receiving yards and was a healthy scratch at the end of the season. Despite an opening for a big, downfield receiver - especially early on when Michael Crabtree was dealing with an Achilles' tear - Baldwin never made an impact.
The reduced contract, however, points to Baldwin at least beginning the offseason with the 49ers. That was unlikely to happen on his previous contract. Still, the 49ers are expected to add more receivers to the roster this offseason, especially during a draft that is particularly deep at the position.
Baldwin was the third receiver selected in the 2011 draft. The 49ers traded their own disappointing first-round wide receiver, A.J. Jenkins, to the Chiefs in August in order to acquire Baldwin. Jenkins, who had no catches for the 49ers in 2012, finished with eight catches for 130 yards for the Chiefs last season.
The 49ers routinely ask a handful of high-priced veterans to take pay cuts in the offseason or risk being cut. Center Jonathan Goodwin and linebacker Parys Haralson agreed to reduce their salaries last year. The 49ers approached cornerback Carlos Rogers about a pay cut, but he refused and was one of the team's highest paid players in 2013.
The 49ers likely will approach Rogers again this offseason. They also could approach running back Frank Gore, who stands to earn $6.45 million in 2014, far more than any other 30-something running back. However, Gore's production has not fallen off and the 49ers do not have a sure-fire replacement in their power-running scheme.
- Matt Barrows