Kansas City Chiefs re-sign WR Dwayne Bowe

I don’t have a strong opinion on this move. It was a buyer’s market at wide receiver this off-season, but your own guy is always more valuable to you than anyone else. Bowe will be learning a new offensive system and playing with a new quarterback this year in Kansas City with Andy Reid and Alex Smith coming in, but Smith is arguably the best quarterback he’s ever had (not a huge compliment to Smith) and he’s by far the Chiefs’ best receiver.

The Chiefs got Bowe for 5 years, 50 million with 24 million guaranteed, all less than Vincent Jackson got last off-season at a similar age. Bowe has more catches, yards, and touchdowns than Jackson did when he hit free agency last off-season and he did so despite never having a consistent quarterback. There are concerns about his attitude and drops, but I like the Chiefs re-signing Bowe more than I liked the Buccaneers signing Vincent Jackson. Of course, Jackson went on to have the best season of his career in Tampa Bay this last season, but still this is a solid move by the Chiefs. They aren’t getting a huge bargain on him or anything, but he’s their only receiver of note and they would have had trouble replacing him if they needed to.

Bowe’s deal also allowed the Chiefs to franchise Branden Albert, which I think was the right move. As talented as Luke Joeckel is, you’re, at best, making a lateral move drafting him #1 overall and letting Albert go because Albert is already a solid left tackle. While Joeckel would have been cheaper and younger, he would have been less of a sure thing and now they have the 1st overall pick freed up to use on whoever they want. They may end up taking a “lesser” prospect than Joeckel, but even if they take someone like Sharrif Floyd who actually fills a massive need, they’ll still be getting a very good player.

This also allows them to trade down with someone like Philadelphia if possible, which could allow them to get back the 2nd round pick they lost in the Alex Smith deal, which will make that move a little bit better. I haven’t loved every single one of the Chiefs’ moves this off-season, but at least it seems like they have a plan. They weren’t a typical 2-14 team last year. They have a lot of talent. Andy Reid and Alex Smith might be “retreads” but they’ll stabilize the Head Coach and quarterback spots and allow the rest of their talent to shine. Now that they’ve brought back Bowe and Albert, two key parts of that talent, for next season, they could definitely make the playoffs in a very weak AFC with a last place schedule in an easy division.

Grade: B

How this will affect the draft: Just when it seemed like we could start to all agree on the #1 pick and that Luke Joeckel would be the guy, Branden Albert is returning to Kansas City. It doesn’t rule Joeckel out as the #1 pick (more on that in a bit) as he is close to the consensus top talent in this draft class, but he’s hardly the consensus #1 pick he once looked like. As far as I see it, there are 4 candidates for the top pick. Some people will argue Chance Warmack and Eric Fisher in there as well, but I highly doubt a guard would go #1 and Fisher, while he has some supporters who believe he is this draft class’ top left tackle, is much less likely to go there than Joeckel. Let’s look at the options.

OT Luke Joeckel: I’ll start with him, since I already mentioned him. Andy Reid believes in building in the trenches, taking an offensive and defensive lineman with his 1st pick in 8 of his last 10 drafts. Albert has yet to even sign the one-year tender and probably won’t until the summer and he’s certainly not signed long term. The Chiefs can rescind the tender after draft day if they choose to and Albert hasn’t signed by then (it’s unlikely he does).

It’s possible they just tagged him to give themselves more time to evaluate the top level talent in this draft class and that if Joeckel turns out to be that guy, they’ll let him go either by rescinding the tender or trading him. They could have also tagged him with the intention of trading him fairly immediately. They could also have tagged him because they wanted him back for another year, but didn’t want to commit to him long term because of his back. They could have also tagged him with the intention of signing him long term to play either right tackle or another position (unlikely, but still). They could have tagged him just because they thought he was worth the tag and if they think Joeckel is worth the 1st overall pick they’ll make it work. He’s not ruled out.

At the end of the day, however, offensive line is not an issue for them. Albert and right tackle Eric Winston were both above average starters at their respective positions last season and are too expensive to be moved inside to guard. Joeckel, meanwhile, will be too high of a draft pick to move to guard. Right guard is already stabilized with Jon Asamoah, as is center with Rodney Hudson. Jeff Allen struggled at left guard last year as a rookie, but he was a 2nd round pick and deserves another shot. They have a very solid starting 5 on the line right now. I don’t see how Joeckel fits if Albert isn’t traded by draft day unless they plan on rescinding the tender. That’s not unheard of. The Seahawks did so in 2009 with LeRoy Hill after taking Aaron Curry, but they still re-signed Hill a few days later to a long term deal. For now, however, I don’t think Luke Joeckel is the most likely option at #1 for the Chiefs.

CB DeMarcus Milliner: Right now, I think he’s a long shot, but he is in the conversation. A cornerback has never gone #1 overall and one hasn’t even gone in the top-4 since 1997. Milliner is talented, but he’s hardly the once in a generational prospect you’d expect to break that trend. However, because of the nature of this draft, it could happen just because he does happen to fill a need at #1 for the Chiefs and could arguably grade out as the best available or one of the best available.

DL Star Lotulelei: This is, of course, pending his heart checking out at his Pro Day. Lotulelei wasn’t diagnosed with a heart issue at The Combine. He just failed his physical and was told to get further testing. It’s very possible his heart issue was caused by dehydration and not a chronic condition or anything that will hinder him in the pros. However, it’s possible that, heart issue or no heart issue, he’s been passed by…

DL Sharrif Floyd: Floyd was a surprise declare and teams weren’t very familiar with him when he first came out, but after they’ve had 2 months to watch tape on him, it seems they’ve all come to the same conclusion: that he’ll be a top-5 pick. Because of that and because he’d fill a massive need for the Chiefs, he’s an obvious candidate for the #1 pick. Andy Reid loves his linemen.

The only concern with Floyd is some feel he’s a better fit in a 3-4 than a 4-3, though he did play both at Florida. I think he’s more Marcell Dareus. Some think he’s more Glenn Dorsey. However, while Lotulelei could be the pick if his medical is clean, I think there’s a much greater chance that, on draft day, Floyd is their highest rated defensive lineman and the #1 overall pick for the Chiefs, which is why that’s where he’ll be in my next mock draft, barring any more surprises.

The other option and probably the Chiefs’ preference is to trade down with someone like Philadelphia, as I mentioned. If I were them, I’d throw the trade value chart out the window to do so because the difference between the 1st pick and the 4th pick is barely anything for the Chiefs, unless they happen to love one prospect. I’d move down for a 2nd round pick, whereas the chart says to take nothing less than the 12th pick. The key is to try to make Philadelphia think Joeckel won’t still be there at 4, which actually could happen since Kansas City, Jacksonville, and Oakland all have solid or better left tackles. This is also contingent on Philadelphia not seeing Eric Fisher as a comparable or better left tackle. We’ll see what happens.

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