With his sixth season in the NFL now underway, Dwayne Bowe has clearly established himself as one of the top players in the league at his position, topping 70 receptions every year, aside from 2009. A former standout at LSU, Bowe is playing out the remainder of this year on his franchise tag tender and will undoubtedly command a significant amount of money on the open market if Kansas City is unable to lock him up long term.
Bowe, 27, has a total of 359 receptions for 4,980 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career, with a high of 15 of those scores coming during his Pro Bowl campaign in 2010.
Although the details of their negotiations have not been made public, the Chiefs and Bowe’s representation have had multiple conversations over the past year about a possible extension, and while they have not yet reached an accord, there is little doubt that Kansas City’s offense would struggle without Bowe on the field. That made their decision to use the franchise tag on him last spring an easy one, even though it seemed to cool off Bowe’s desire to stay put with the Chiefs.
Bowe avoided all team activities in the off-season and waited until training camp was complete to report to practice, but as of yet, he hasn’t shown too much rust. Provided Kansas City’s improved offensive line can continue to provide quarterback Matt Cassel with time to throw downfield, Bowe should be able to put up the kind of numbers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him, and set himself up for a pile of cash one way or another as an unrestricted free agent.
The Chiefs do have a similar player to Bowe in second year wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, but to date, he’s shown no ability to provide Kansas City with the level of production offensively that Bowe brings to the club, and until that happens, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs letting Bowe walk away with no compensation back in return.
If Bowe is able to extricate himself from Kansas City, there will be no shortage of suitors lining up for his services in the off-season, and it would seem that teams in the south, such as Miami, Jacksonville, and possibly New Orleans would have the inside track on him given their proximity to his home in Florida.
The Chiefs will have their chance to keep him though, either with a long term contract or by tagging Bowe once more as their franchise player. Using the second option is something the team would definitely like to avoid, given the prohibitive cost it brings in the form of a guaranteed one year contract at the average of the top five wide receivers, or a 10% increase over his contract this season, whichever is higher.
With the amount of space they have under the cap, there will be little reason for Kansas City to give up on keeping Bowe in the fold long term, and should they choose to let him leave via free agency, there will definitely be a very loud and very angry group of Chiefs fans to account for.
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