Many fans who have heard Dwayne Bowe saying he will not attend OTA’s, think instantly this is another episode to the “D-Bowe” saga. The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on the disgruntle wide receiver this past off-season.Being franchise tagged comes along with a one year contract and a salary equal to the average of the top five highest paid players at his position. Bowe is due $9.5 million dollars this year, which is no chump change. Bowe says he will not attend camp until a deal is made, which is unlikely because the Chiefs do not have the money right now to extend Bowe’s current contract. In my opinion, I thought Bowe should have got an extension before Cassel did. However, here we are and fans are wondering if the Chiefs would just be better off without the drama of having Bowe. We see this continuously throughout the NFL when players are placed under the franchise tag.
Drew Brees in New Orleans and Wes Welker in New England, both were placed under the franchise tag and both have said through their agent that they will not attend OTA’s until a long term contract is reached. Many people with an outside perspective will strongly disagree with these players. They will call into the local radio stations and ask, “why in the (fill in your own explicit word) would you turn down $9.5 million, especially in times like these when the people who come support you at games are struggling everyday!” Though I believe that is a valid point, I do not the think fans understand the situation these players are in. People do not understand that the franchise tag is used when a team currently at the time do not have the money to give them a contract extension or the ownership thinks it will be to costly to give the player a bigger contract. Some General Manager’s use the franchise tag as a way to put a player on the market open to anyone who may be interested in a trade. The players are put in a bad spot because the franchise tag only guarantees a one year contract. Though they do get paid as a top five player at their position, there is no guarantee the team will re-sign them the year after. What if the player gets hurt? What if he does not have the season the front office thought he would have?
The team can release him and get no cap penalty whatsoever, and the player would be looking for another place to play. The franchise tag gives the front office all the leverage the following year during contract neogotiations and the players may not get the money they deserved the year before. Players holdout not to be distractions, but to gain security. As we all have witnessed, the NFL is always changing and things can happen that can alter the lives of these players. Under a one year contract if a player gets hurt, the team could say, “oh well” and release him. The proper way to use the franchise tag is to allow the agent and the front office more time to negotiate a long term contract. If the tender was not given and signed, then the player would have been eligible for free agency and would gain the ability to go to any team they desired.
In Dwayne Bowe’s situation, the Chiefs should be doing all they can to get a long term contract for Bowe. Many fans question his consistency and productivity, but he has been the Chiefs number one receiver for three years now. We have seen that he can produce and I think he would help the Chiefs develop into one of the top receiving cores in the NFL. If the Chiefs are looking for money, Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson’s contracts are up at the end of the year but that does not help the Chiefs now. Maybe Cassel wants Bowe as bad as they need him, and he will go restructure his contract to get Bowe the contract extension he deserves. If the Chiefs can get Bowe into camp, there will be money available the next off-season because I do not think Dorsey and Jackson will get a contract any were near the amount they got for their rookie contracts, unless they go else where. But still there is the risk that Bowe has an outstanding year under the franchise tag, and he gets numerous top dollar offers for more interesting destinations.
This will only drive the price up more to keep Bowe and next year the Chiefs will not have the first chance to get him because he will be a unrestricted free agent. Baldwins potential is still unknown in my opinion and Breaston is not a typical number one receiver. With that being said, the Chiefs need to find a way to sign Bowe to a long term contract before the season starts. His play will be a determining factor if the Chiefs offense becomes more explosive over the next couple of years.