Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe wants a monster contract. He wants his salary to be comparable to that of Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, Lions’ Calvin Johnson, and Texans’ Andre Johnson. And it looks increasingly unlikely he’ll get his wish granted while dawning a tomato red Chiefs uniform.
When the deadline to sign franchise players to a long-term contract came and went, Bowe and Chiefs remained in a dispute that, according to numerous sources, was never close to being resolved. The Chiefs are unwilling to give into Bowe’s demands and offer him a hefty contract, while Bowe believes his extremely consistent play over the past 5 seasons has earned him an immense payday.
Kansas City wants Bowe to be motivated under a one-year contract, and the harsh reality is, they are probably very comfortable with the high probability that Bowe leaves in 2013. The Chiefs could still use the franchise tag on Bowe next year, but that would mean his salary would climb to 11.4 million for the 2013 season. The possibility of Kansas City giving Bowe the franchise tag in 2013 is certainly there. But if that doesn’t expose their lack of trust in Bowe, I don’t know what does.
While Bowe does try to be the best player he can be, sometimes a little too hard, he comes off as extremely unreliable, very difficult to read, and consumed by his own ego. Bowe has dropped too many balls in the 4th quarter of close games, ran the wrong route too many times in clutch situations, and has displayed immaturity on and off the field frequently.
Bowe’s report card contains as many question marks and sad faces as checks and smiles. Which is why it was hard to know how authentic his good-soldier performances were the last two years. Maybe they’re legit. Maybe they’re the act of a man who wanted a contract that pays him $40 million to $50 million guaranteed.
That was Bowe’s sin in all this: He seems to want so badly to be a superstar immediately that he’s not willing to wait for it to occur naturally. He wants to be a cover boy and an icon, and he wants it now. As Larry Johnson learned, Kansas City isn’t always the best place for that. As Kansas City and the Chiefs learned, a talented athlete who can’t fit into the organizational and geographical mind-set, usually finds his way out of town.
Those of you criticizing Scott Pioli for not coming to an agreement with Bowe and his advisors need to step back and look at Pioli’s body of work. Pioli has done a good job of keeping the homegrown talent here in Kansas City for the most part, as both Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali signed long-term contract extensions to stay in town last summer. Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson both have very team-friendly contracts and both will remain in Chiefs uniforms for the foreseeable future.
However, critics of Pioli for being a cheap owner are certainly justified. Pioli never seems interested in signing high-quality players unless the player comes at a significant discount. When fullback Le’ron McClain was a free agent last summer, the Chiefs never expressed interest in McClain until his value dropped dramatically. Fullback was a position of need for the Chiefs, but Pioli would only fill the need if the financial ramifications were minimal.
Earlier this year, the Chiefs passed on bringing back cornerback Brandon Carr, a homegrown player that developed into a very solid NFL cornerback. Carr flew the coup and signed with the Dallas Cowboys for a ludicrous 60 million dollars over 5 years. Carr is worth no where near close to that type of money, but it would have been nice to see Pioli and his staff at least attempt to keep Carr in a Chiefs uniform.
The Chiefs have been preparing for life after Bowe for quite some time. They drafted Jonathan Baldwin, a physical possession receiver, in the 1st round of the 2011 draft. He would likely be looked upon to fill Bowe’s shoes shall he leave Kansas City. Hopefully Bowe realizes that he can be a superstar, but only in the right system and environment. I’m just not sure that environment will be Kansas City.