Dwayne Bowe was given the franchise tender by the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2012 season but the former first round pick is sitting out of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts in hopes of landing a long-term deal.
While most fans see Bowe staying home as a negative, in the end, it could end up having a positive effect on the team’s other young receivers, chief among them Jonathan Baldwin.
Baldwin was playing behind the eight ball throughout the 2011 season. The NFL lockout robbed the rookie of a true offseason program in the pros and Thomas “Locker Room Leadership” Jones, robbed him of the first half of his season. Baldwin barely got to spend any time with QB Matt Cassel before he was forced to catch passes from someone named Tyler Palko. By the time the 2011 season was over, Baldwin had missed the offseason, half the regular season and he’d played with three QBs and two head coaches.
Hardly the ideal environment for rookie development at WR.
2012 represents a fresh start for Baldwin and the the entire Chiefs organization. Jones is gone. Todd Haley is gone. Barry Richardson is gone, which means Baldwin may actually be able to finish running his routes this season before Matt Cassel gets sacked.
The Chiefs have a new offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll and while it would be great to have Bowe working out as the team learns a new offense, the extra reps that will go to Baldwin are more valuable. Bowe will likely show up when he has to and he probably won’t have too much trouble getting up to speed. Bowe has played with Matt Cassel for three years and in the end, routes are routes. Presumably he has the playbook. Training camp will be plenty of time.
For now, while the players are just running around in shorts and t-shirts, the extra snaps for Baldwin, who might otherwise find himself watching while Bowe and #2 WR Steve Beaston work, should be helpful.
“Right now it’s early, and with OTAs, especially with JB, he’s going to develop,” Breaston said in an article on KCChiefs.com. “He’s going to have this offseason to develop. JB is raw, but JB is athletic and he can make plays. That’s why he’s here.
“When the offseason goes on and he gets the reps that he may not have had before because Dwayne isn’t here, he’s going to develop and he’s going to be a lot better of a receiver.”