Today was the deadline for franchise players to sign long term deals with their respective teams. Among the several players who went unsigned was the Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe. What’s particularly troubling about Bowe’s situation, however, is how little contact there was between the two sides. Among all of the franchise players, there might not have been two sides further apart than Bowe and the Chiefs. It’s unclear if Bowe was asking for too much money or simply did not want to sign long term with a team without a clear franchise quarterback, but the situation definitely looks bad.
Since he went unsigned, Bowe will be a free agent again next offseason. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora opined today that he would be “pretty surprised” to see Bowe back with the Chiefs in 2013. This makes a lot of sense. The Chiefs have a trio of receivers signed through 2014, Steve Breaston, their 2nd leading returning receiver, Jonathan Baldwin, their 2011 1st round pick, and Devon Wylie, their 2012 4th round pick. That also may have had something to do with their hesitance to sign Bowe long term and meet what could have been very lofty demands.
Considering Vincent Jackson got 55.5 million over 5 years on the open market, Bowe, who will be 8 months younger next offseason than Jackson was this offseason, could get upwards of 60 million dollars on the open market next offseason. Currently 20 months younger than Jackson, Bowe already has more receptions and yards than Jackson does and without the benefit of a franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers, who Jackson had in San Diego. Bowe has also played in 17 fewer games. In the immediate future, it’s unclear if Bowe will report to Training Camp. If he doesn’t, the Chiefs might explore the possibility of trading him before the season, rather than risk losing him for nothing next offseason.