Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Dwayne Bowe Contract Watch: Don't Panic

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Dwayne Bowe has yet to sign his franchise tender and is not attending the voluntary offseason workouts.

Get your torches and pitchforks!

It doesn’t matter who you want to intimidate. There are two mobs about to depart. One is on its way to Arrowhead Stadium to bang on the front doors and call for GM Scott Pioli’s head. Someone might even climb the statue of Lamar Hunt so they can get a better view to toss eggs at the stadium. Pioli’s a bum, just sitting up in his office on top of Clark Hunt’s wallet.

The other mob is on a mission to find Dwayne Bowe. They’re armed with judgements and diet pills. They’ll make sure Bowe knows just what a selfish, non-team player he is. They’re also absolutely convinced that he’s doing nothing but eating cartons of ice cream and that the only football he is playing is on his Xbox360. To top it all off, he’s playing as the Raiders!

The mobs aren’t currently particularly large but have no fear, they will grow. If we’re to believe the Kansas City Star, Steve Breaston may have to step up and be the #1 receiver in Kansas City this year. Bowe might sit the entire season!

Breaston may have to take the lead this year for the Chiefs. Bowe, as the franchise player, is unsigned and not with the Chiefs as they go through their offseason conditioning program.

Bowe has plenty of time to sign a contract and rejoin the Chiefs, but until he does, there’s a chance he won’t play next season. If he doesn’t, Breaston becomes the No. 1 wide receiver.

What The Star is saying is possible but highly unlikely.

Bowe has $9 million reasons to play this season.

This isn’t like when Vincent Jackson sat out in San Diego in 2010. Jackson was tendered as a restricted free agent and was due to be paid just over $3 million. Bowe is getting the franchise tag that is worth more than $9 million.

So why doesn’t Bowe just sign his tender?

Because it doesn’t make any sense for him to do so.

Bowe wants a long-term contract. It does him absolutely no good to sign his tender now because it will lose him all leverage in contract negotiations with the Chiefs. The team has until July to work out a deal with Bowe. If they do not, he’ll play the whole season under the franchise tag if/when he signs it.

For the Chiefs, there is no reason for Scott Pioli to rush into a long-term deal with Bowe just so they can hurry him in to lift some weights. Scott Pioli isn’t going to sign Bowe to a ridiculous contract that is going to put the Chiefs in salary cap hot water down the line. Remember, KC has a young, talented roster. Those young, talented players are going to soon be growing up into expensive veterans in their prime. Bowe is a very good receiver but teams demonstrate all the time how foolish it is to blow too much money on a player that isn’t a QB.

The NFL is a business and for a GM, a balancing act. While I’m sure Pioli wants to get Bowe locked up to a fair deal, he has the money to pay Bowe $9 million this year if he has to. Should Jonathan Baldwin develop this season, Pioli won’t have to over-spend on Bowe after next season. If Baldwin doesn’t develop, Pioli’s hand will be forced and he’ll likely need to pony up to keep Bowe.

For Bowe, the safer route is to accept the reasonable long-term deal the Chiefs will likely offer sometime this summer. This will give him security in case of injury. Sure, the $9 million this year will be great but it won’t be as good as $10 or $30 million over the course of a few years.

In the end, Bowe will likely have to decide whether or not to roll the dice and play under the tag or agree to a long-term deal. He has already gone on the record as saying that he isn’t upset he received the franchise tag and that he understands the business side of the NFL. As such, Bowe is playing the game, just like Wes Welker, another franchise tag recipient, is playing in New England.

When it is all said an done, however, both Bowe and Welker will likely show up for training camp, either under the tag or under new deals.

Bowe will almost certainly play in 2012. So keep the pitchforks in the barn for now. You probably won’t need them until next offseason and depending on the development of Jonathan Baldwin, you may not need them at all.

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